Norwegian State Visit to Britain, 1951

A month after hosting the King and Queen of Denmark on their State Visit, the British Royal Family hosted their uncle and great-uncle, King Haakon VII of Norway, on his State Visit to the United Kingdom, which began on this day in 1951, exactly 70 years ago. The British and Norwegian Royal Families are very closely related through King Haakon’s wife, the British-born Queen Maud, a sister of the Queen’s grandfather, King George V, and King Haakon spent his exile during the Second World War in the United Kingdom. The Queen and Duke’s State Visit to Norway in 1955 was the first outgoing State Visit of her Reign, followed by another in 1981, and one in 2001. They have hosted the Norwegian Royal Family in 19511959, 1962, 1988, 1994, and 2005. For King Haakon’s first State Visit to the United Kingdom in 1908, he was hosted by his parents-in-law, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, at Windsor Castle.

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King Haakon VII of Norway arrived in London on the Royal Yacht Norge and was welcomed by his nephew, the Duke of Gloucester, deputizing for an ill King George VI, who had an inflammation of the lung. The two rode in the British Royal Barge to Westminster Pier, where the King was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and the extended British Royal Family, as well as King Haakon’s granddaughter, Princess Astrid. Following the Official Welcome, the Royal Party rode in a Ceremonial Procession to Buckingham Palace.

There are no pictures or footage from that evening’s State Banquet, but it is known that King Haakon visited his nephew, King George VI, in his private apartments before the Banquet, and the absent King’s speech was read by Princess Elizabeth (likely wearing the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara either with the George VI Sapphire Parure or the Greville Ruby Bandeau Necklace), who said:

Your Majesty and your people showed the world that the fighting spirit of the Norsemen was still very much alive.

Britain was glad to have Norway with it as a firm ally as well as a friend.”

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The following evening, only Princess Elizabeth (wearing the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara) was pictured as she arrived at the Norwegian Embassy in London for a Return Banquet hosted by King Haakon VII.

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The final day of the State Visit began with the Trooping the Color Ceremony, when King Haakon and Princess Astrid joined the Royal Family on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace. Princess Elizabeth again deputized for the King, taking the salute of the Brigade of Grenadier Guards.

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That evening, Princess Elizabeth (wearing the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara and Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace) was pictured arriving for a Banquet at Lancaster House, similar to one hosted for the Danish King a Queen a few weeks earlier.


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