King Olav V of Norway died on the evening of 17 January 1991. At that same moment, Crown Prince Harald became Norway’s new king: King Harald V.
During the night and in the days following the announcement of his death, thousands of mourners made their way to the Palace Square to pay their respects to King Olav and show their support for the Royal Family. The Palace Square was a sea of flowers and candles.
During the weekend, the 25th anniversary will be observed in several ways across the nation.
King Harald has expressed his gratitude for the support of the people on several occasions:
“The enormous response and outpouring of sympathy made it clear that the Norwegian people stood beside us in our common grief. The condolence message registers from throughout the country, together with the candles and all the greetings from the Palace Square, warmed our hearts and consoled us in those difficult days.” (New Year’s Eve speech, 1991)
When a monarch passes away the next monarch succeeds to the throne at that same moment – thus the expression: The King is dead – long live the King. However, the transition is also accompanied by a number of ceremonial components, the most important of which is the King’s oath of allegiance to the Constitution. King Harald and Queen Sonja - as King Olav before them - also chose to be consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral.
On 21 January 1991, King Harald swore an oath in the Storting pursuant to Article 9 of the Constitution. The event took place during a formal ceremony in the Storting. President of the Storting Jo Benkow read the announcement of King Olav’s death before the King took the oath:
“I solemnly swear to reign in the Kingdom of Norway in accordance with its Constitution and laws, so help me Almighty God.”
Like his father and grandfather, the King adopted the motto We give our all for Norway (Alt for Norge).
King Harald and Queen Sonja were consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral on 23 June 1991.