Saturday, 9 April 2016

Fish and fashion ends a royal visit to Italy

As King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway ended their State Visit to Italy there was a lot of looking forward and quite a lot of looking back. The Norwegian royals spent the third and final day of their trip in Milan where Harald reminded everyone of how a shipwreck had led to a trading partnership between the two countries that still endures today. And there was quite a lot of fish.

King Harald and Queen Sonja in Milan on day three of their visit to Italy

Harald and Sonja arrived in the northern Italian city fresh from two days in Rome which had seen them meet politicians, lay a wreath and visit some of Italy's most famous monuments. This part of the trip was all about getting down to business as they met entrepreneurs and business leaders from both countries.  There was a seminar on energy and the environment and a chance to attend a Seed Forum, a Norwegian idea which brings together budding entrepreneurs and potential investors - this was the first time the forum had taken place in Italy.

There was also a really, really good lunch. The fish and seafood on offer was on King Harald's mind as he made his last big speech of the State Visit. He told his audience that trade links between the two countries had started when a merchant from Venice had been shipwrecked on a northern Norwegian island and had so loved the food he was given by his welcoming hosts that he brought some of it, stockfish, back and began trading it. Harald reminded his listeners that it remains among the biggest of all exports from Norway to Italy.

The King and Queen of Norway are shown design highlights in Milan

Putting the fish to one side, there was also a chance for a spot of fashion - Milan is pretty famous for its style, after all. Harald and Sonja met several Norwegian designers working in Milan. The Queen of Norway has shown us a pretty stylish wardrobe during this visit and ended the tour with two colourful creations. There was a blue trouser suit with a textured jacket and a teal skirt suit with a stand out brooch that cemented her take on interesting jewellery on this tour.

Queen Sonja goes green with some interesting jewels on day three of her State Visit to Italy

This State Visit, the 45th that Harald and Sonja have made in their 25 years as monarchs, ended on a high note as they toured an upcoming exhibition of craft that will feature Norwegian designers. And then it was back to Oslo where their home agenda is pretty packed while State Visit attention is turning to Denmark where this week, Queen Margrethe and her family will host an incoming trip by the President of Chile.

And you can read all about April's State Visits on the special page here.

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