Norwegian king ‘shut out’ from war medal ceremony / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian king ‘shut out’ from war medal ceremony. UPDATED: A major Norwegian national newspaper reports HRH King Harald was prevented from awarding Norway’s highest military honours medals to three Special Forces soldiers. Several anonymous sources allege Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg actively discouraged the king from attending 8 May Liberation Day, now called "Veterans' Day", ceremony, contrary to HRH’s wishes. “This is one of the most important matters for him. King Harald is very concerned about veterans. He has made it clear they are not just WWII heroes,” a senior military source tells Dagbladet.

hrhkingharaldofnorway, primeministerjensstoltenberg, militaryhonoursceremony, norwegianwarveterens



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Norwegian king ‘shut out’ from war medal ceremony

Published on Tuesday, 10th May, 2011 at 13:38 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 10th May 2011 at 15:41.

UPDATED: A major Norwegian national newspaper reports HRH King Harald was prevented from awarding Norway’s highest military honours medals to three Special Forces soldiers.

Norway: Oslo Royal Palace
Norway: Oslo Royal Palace
Photo: Frenkieb/Flickr


United we stand

Several anonymous sources allege Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg actively discouraged the king from attending 8 May Liberation Day, now called "Veterans' Day", ceremony, contrary to HRH’s wishes.

“This is one of the most important matters for him. King Harald is very concerned about veterans. He has made it clear they are not just WWII heroes,” a senior military source tells Dagbladet.

The three War Cross with Sword medals, one awarded posthumously for the first time in 60 years and received by the Lieutenant Commander’s 10-year-old surviving son, were handed out by Defence Chief Harald Sunde instead.

Palace Communications Director Marianne Hagen confirms events, but says, “They were presented on the King’s behalf following pre-agreement by both HRH and the Prime Minister.”

The ceremony, as well as renaming 8 May, is part of the government’s way of recognising the service veterans have performed on behalf of their country, according to Minister of Defence Grete Faremo.

“The Government, Parliament, and Royal Court stand united behind recognising veterans. Ceremonies represent a worthy way of thanking soldiers and their families for their efforts,” she says.

A staggering disgrace

Norwegian military War Cross with Sword
Norwegian military War Cross with Sword
KEN/Wikimedia Commons
Opposition Party politicians condemn Sunday’s move, however. The Christian Democratic Party’s (KrF) Dagrun Eriksen calls it “a disgrace”.

“This is the Nation's day, when we can all show our veterans gratitude. The Royal Family has a long tradition of honoring our troops,” she tells Aftenposten.

“I would think that the families of those who received the award are wondering what kind of power struggle this is. I think that they probably would have been equally proud if it was the King who presented the medal himself,” says Jan Arild Eriksen, MP for the Progress Party (FrP).

Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande says what happened was “sad”. Ine Maria Søreide, Conservative Party (H) leader on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, says, “It’s both staggering and extremely regrettable if the government’s wish for the King not to be present turns out to be true.”

VG reports HRH confirms both he and the Prime Minister decided the ceremony’s course of events together. The King says he will be giving the honoured veterans and their next-of-kin an audience at the Palace.

"I have not refused to let the King participate. Full stop!," Jens Stoltenberg proclaimed this afternoon, at the same time not ruling out the possibility of future changes.




Published on Tuesday, 10th May, 2011 at 13:38 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 10th May 2011 at 15:41.

This post has the following tags: hrhkingharaldofnorway, primeministerjensstoltenberg, militaryhonoursceremony, norwegianwarveterens.





  
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