Royals attend memorial for Poland

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King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were among those attending a special memorial service Tuesday evening for the victims of a plane crash that killed the president of Poland and several other high-ranking government officials over the weekend.

Mourners outside Poland's Embassy in Oslo. PHOTO: Views and News

The services were held in Trefoldighetskirken (Trinity Church) in Oslo, which has been serving as Oslo’s acting cathedral until Oslo’s Domkirken reopens this weekend following a major renovation.

The Catholic Church in Norway conducted the services with its Oslo Bishop Bernt Eidsvig presiding. Oslo has a large Polish population that regularly attends Catholic mass.

King Harald may also be attending funeral services for Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, in Warsaw this weekend, even though both the king and Queen Sonja are due to be in Copenhagen on Friday for Danish Queen Margrethe’s 70th birthday celebration and back in Oslo Saturday evening for a gala banquet honoring Norway’s Olympic athletes.

Mourners in Oslo have been laying flowers and lighting candles outside the Polish Embassy since news broke of the plane crash on Saturday. All embassies of countries that are members of the European Union flew their flags at half-mast on Monday, as did EU representative offices.

A condolence book was laid out in the Oslo City Hall and the first to sign it was Cabinet Minister Liv Signe Navarsete, representing Norway’s coalition government. “It’s important that we remember the victims and share thoughts after this tragic accident,” she told news bureau NTB. “There are many of us who have been deeply moved by what happened.”

Views and News staff