Now it’s ‘Sir’ Pål, Morten and Magne

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All three members of Norway’s most internationally popular band ever, a-ha, were invited to meet King Harald V on Monday, seven months after the monarch had named them “Ridder” 1st class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav.

The meeting took place just after noon at the Royal Palace in Oslo, when the three a-ha veterans Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Pål Waaktaar Savoy, who retired as a band in 2010, were received in audience by the monarch himself. They’d already received their royal decorations in another ceremony last November.

All three dressed up in suits and ties for the event, and Furuholmen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) before entering the palace that they received the royal decoration with “takknemlighet og udmykhet” (gratitude and humility).

See video from NRK (external link, in Norwegian, translation below):

Harket, Furuholmen and Waaktaar Savoy were wearing their new royal decorations when they arrived at the palace, eliciting admiring comments of “stilig” (stylish) from Norwegian reporters assembled outside.

Furuholmen emerged from the front seat of the car first with the jovial greeting of “heisann” before gallantly opening one of the rear doors for Harket. Asked what it means to receive the knighthood, Furuholmen replied that “it is of course really something to get such recognition from an official level for what we’ve done together. We receive this with gratitude and humility.”

Waaktaar was smiling but mostly silent throughout the short meeting with reporters, while Furuholmen said he expected their conversation with the king would be limited to “the professional arena.”

“We didn’t come here with lots to tell,” Harket added. “We’ll listen to what he (the king) has to say.”

‘Demanding to get together’
They repeated that it was an honor to formally receive the knighthood together, with Furuholmen noting to chuckles from the crowd that “it’s more and more demanding for us to get together.” Each has gone on to individual pursuits after 25 years of performing as a-ha, with Furuholmen, for example, devoting himself to his art career and, among other things, the gallery he runs along with partners at Tjuvholmen in Oslo, called Stolper + Friends. He and the others also now perform both individually and with other musicians.

Asked whether they’d worn their new royal decorations yet, Furuholmen noted that “there are rules” for such usage. Harket, patting his chest where his medal was pinned, added that “We don’t have much practice with this yet.”

With that, Furuholmen said that “we gotsa go,” and the three headed for the rear entrance of the palace, since the front entrance is now part of a construction zone in connection with refurbishment of the palace grounds.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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