King Harald V and Queen Sonja dressed themselves in casual outdoor clothing and sat outside their timber lodge in the hills above Oslo to send highly unusual greetings to Norwegians Friday afternoon, as they all embarked on highly unusual Easter holidays in the middle of the Corona crisis.
Armed with a thermos full of gløgg and a crackling fire, the royal couple claimed they were “highly impressed” by how Norwegians have responded to the Corona virus threat that had killed 59 people by Friday evening.
“Our message is that both the king and I are deeply and highly impressed over all the good work that’s been done around the whole country,” Queen Sonja said in the taped address that also topped Norwegian state broadcaster NRK’s nightly national newscast Dagsrevyen.
“We know that many are having difficult times now, both economically and in other ways,” King Harald added. “Many people have been laid off (more than 400,000 as of Friday afternoon). Many small business owners are afraid they’ll lose their companies. Employees are afraid they’ll lose their jobs. And there are many who fear they’ll lose their good health.”
The royal couple urged Norwegians to help one another and have faith in the authorities. “We must have great confidence … and try to do as well as we can with the recommendations we have received in order to get this crisis over as quickly as possible,” Queen Sonja said.
“Together we’ll manage that,” King Harald chimed in, “as a nation and in cooperation with the rest of the world. The latter is quite important. The whole world is in a crisis situation.”
The royal couple normally heads for the family’s holiday home in the mountains west of Vinje during the Easter holidays. Now they’re abiding by national Corona containment measures that forbid Norwegians from taking off on pleasure trips of traveling to their hytter (holiday cabins) if they’re located in another municipality than their place of residence.
The royals don’t have to simply stick around their palace in Oslo, however. They also have the timber lodge known as Kongsseteren near Holmenkollen in the hills just above Oslo but safely within the city limits. That’s where they’ve been staying for the past few weeks, after they came home from a state visit to Jordan in early March and had to go into 14 days of quarantine.
Queen Sonja claimed that she thought “something good” will come out of the Coronwe must find solutions that I think will be useful when we come out of this crisis.”
As millions of Norwegian had to settle in to spending the Easter holidays at home alone, without customary ski trips or large family dinners, the queen said she felt certain that “soon we can give one another a good hug again.”