Friday, 2 September 2016

King Harald's words of love

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway at their traditional garden party for the end of summer
September 1st 2016

'My greatest hope for Norway is that we are to take care of each other...that we shall know that we - despite all our differences - are one people. That Norway is one.' After a summer where division has been a headline around Europe, King Harald of Norway made a moving speech, centred on unity and caring for fellow citizens, at a garden party for hundreds of his fellow citizens. And his words were echoed by Queen Sonja who said 'we have so much to be grateful for, we still live in a peaceful spot on earth...we still live in freedom.'

King Harald and Queen Sonja lead the Norwegian Royal Family at the garden party

The King and Queen made their speeches at the beginning and end of the garden party they host every year as summer comes to an end. Invitations go out to people from across Norway including representatives of organisations. Politicians, including the country's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, also attended.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit meets a guest at the garden party held on September 1st 2016

Harald and Sonja were joined by Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus and Princess Astrid for the party which is held at Slottsparken. There were sandwiches and cake, there was music and there was dancing on a cool summer's afternoon that signalled the start of autumn.

King Harald's jubilee year has been a huge success

But above all there were King Harald's words of love. His speech was filled with compassion and with a heartfelt plea for people to accept and understand one another. He said he hoped his country would continue to be built on trust, generosity and fellowship. Earlier this year, Harald and Sonja celebrated their 25th anniversary as King and Queen of Norway with huge support from their fellow Norwegians. As they move into a new era in their reign, they have shown that support and depth of feeling in equal measure with words that struck a chord with many and which set a pattern for a future filled with joy.

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