Royals in place to greet the masses

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True to tradition, Norway’s royal family gathered on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo on Tuesday to wave for hours as the country’s largest 17th of May parade passed by below them. The day started early, especially for young Princess Ingrid Alexandra.

Norway's royal family on the palace balcony: (from left) Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Sonja and King Harald. PHOTO: NRK/Views and News

The seven-year-old princess, her parents Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and her younger brother Prince Sverre Magnus first needed to follow another tradition outside their home in suburban Asker.

They were up early to get dressed in the rather complicated national costumes known as the bunad, which represent various parts of the country. Crown Prince Haakon wore his local bunad from Asker, while his wife paid homage to the west coast county of Rogaland. Both children wore bunads from Vest-Agder, the county around Kristiansand where their mother grew up.

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For more photos, see NRK’s coverage here (external link, in Norwegian, but just click on the large photo.)

By 8am they were out on their front steps to greet the local children’s parade that traditionally marches by the royal estate at Skaugum on Norway’s Constitution Day. Once they were in place, Mette-Marit’s teenage son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby, joined them on the porch, wearing a Vest-Agder bunad as well. By the time it was all over, the family dog was on the steps, too, adorned with a 17th of May ribbon for the occasion.

Despite chilly temperatures and threatening skies, hundreds of locals had shown up for the event before the crown prince’s family needed to quickly change clothes and head into Oslo to help oversee the country’s largest parade that runs in front of the Royal Palace.

Haakon, Mette-Marit and Ingrid Alexandra joined King Harald and Queen Sonja on the palace balcony, with the men in traditional formal dress with top hats and the women in suits. Together they waved to tens of thousands of Oslo school children, listened to the traditional music and the traditional speeches, including one by Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang.

“The most important, I think, is to combine the party and the joy with the serious aspects, and think about how lucky we are to live in a society with peace and freedom,” Stang told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He said he was especially happy to be  mayor on a day like the 17th of May, when children are the center of attention.

Little Princess Ingrid Alexandra, destined to become Norway’s monarch one day, seems well on her way to learning and performing royal duties. But she was probably most looking forward to getting out of all her formal clothes and eating the ice cream and hot dogs that are another popular tradition on the 17th of May.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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