Celebrated in London
Each year, more than 2 000 Norwegians gather in London on May 17th to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day. This year Princess Märtha Louise participated in the activities.
The Princess first attended services at the Norwegian Seamans Church with her husband, Mr Ari Behn, and then enjoyed the festivities in Southwark Park along with her entire family.
The Seamans Church
The Norwegian Seamans Church is a natural meeting place for Norwegians residing in London, and May 17th is no exception. The Princess and Mr Behn started their celebration of Constitution Day here with a traditional church service.
Accompanied by Norways Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Kim Traavik, Princess Märtha Louise laid a wreath at the monument commemorating Norways fallen soldiers. The monument lies by the gate of the Norwegian Seamans Church, which is located 1.5 kilometres east of Tower Bridge, just south of the Thames. The church was formally opened in 1927 by then Crown Prince Olav.
After the service, congregants enjoyed coffee and other refreshments, including the churchs popular waffles.
The Princess and her family have resided in London since autumn 2012.
Childrens parade in Southwark Park
The festivities continued in Southwark Park, a short walk from the church. The highpoint of the day for many of the Norwegians residing in the area was a genuine May 17th childrens parade in the heart of London.
Princess Märtha Louise and her family led the parade of several hundred Norwegians, which wound through the park with flag-bearers from the Norwegian School in London and music provided by the Lambertseter Youth Marching Band.
The Princess was also the main speaker at this years event, which drew some 2 000–3 000 participants. In her speech, the Princess stressed how important Norwegians feel it is to celebrate Constitution Day, regardless of where they are in the world.
May 17th is focused around children. After the speeches and entertainment, it was time for traditional childrens games such as sack races, egg-and-spoon races and ring toss. A magic show and a juggling act impressed children and adults alike.
In the evening, the Princess and Mr Behn attended a dinner at the Norwegian Seamens Church, which featured traditional Norwegian cuisine and cream cake.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.