All across Norway despite the pandemic
The Royal Court has submitted its annual report for 2020 today.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated infection control measures have affected much of the activity of the Royal House of Norway and the Royal Court during 2020. The official programme for the members of the Royal Family and many of the activities of the Royal Court were greatly scaled back in keeping with the general shutdowns implemented in Norway. The constitutional duties of the King have been for the most part carried out as normal.
“It has been a very unusual year, but we are pleased that the Royal Family have been able to meet people in innovative ways – through digital meetings and messages, TV productions and a unique approach to the celebration of Constitution Day on 17 May – in addition to a few face-to-face meetings. The financial situation of the Royal Court is sound, and we have plans to follow up the projects we could not carry out in 2020 as we move forward. We have kept our momentum in the Royal Court’s security project, as planned. The deficit shown this year is due to the use of appropriations to the project from previous years,” said Lord Chamberlain Gry Mølleskog.
Travelled across Norway during the pandemic
In spite of the pandemic, the Royal Family managed to visit all of Norway’s counties, 24 municipalities and Jan Mayen in the course of 2020. An additional 31 municipalities received digital visits by means of 40 videoconferences. Members of the Royal Family met with people from more than 30 different spheres, including health workers, teachers, students and schoolchildren, businesspeople, cultural actors, child welfare officers, workers in cleaning agencies, NAV employees, furloughed employees, municipal employees, and representatives of volunteer organisations and mental health organisations.
Fiftieth State Visit
In March the King and Queen conducted their fiftieth State Visit. The milestone visit to Jordan was their first state visit to the Middle East. Extensive infection control measures were introduced in Norway directly after the King and Queen returned from their journey, and no members of the Royal Family have travelled abroad since. The Royal Family carried out a total of four official visits abroad in 2020, and visited an additional seven countries via a digital platform.
Security project at the Royal residences
The largest individual project under the Royal Court is the security project, which is designed to enhance security at the Royal Palace and the other Royal residences. Progress in this project has also been affected by the pandemic, but measures have been implemented to facilitate the planned completion of the project in the course of 2021.
The annual accounts for 2020 show a deficit of NOK 65 million. This is a budgeted deficit, resulting from the planned use in the security project in 2020 of NOK 87 million of the appropriations to the project from previous years.
The accounts for the Royal Court show a surplus of NOK 22 million. The limited participation of the Royal Family in official events and travel due to the restrictions imposed in the infection control measures has led to a decrease in expenditure. Several of the Royal Court’s renovation and maintenance projects have also been delayed due to long periods in which external craftspeople and other suppliers were not allowed to be physically present at the Royal residences for reasons of infection control. Most of this surplus is planned to be used for projects in 2021 and 2022. A calculated deficit in the accounts is therefore anticipated for 2021 and in all likelihood 2022 as well. Most of these funds will be used in connection with the upgrade of building and park facilities.
The annual report and accounts of the Royal Court for 2020 have been submitted to the Presidium of the Storting, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, and the Office of the Auditor General of Norway.
National memorial event at the Oslo Spektrum Arena
His Majesty King Harald spoke at the memorial event at the Oslo Spektrum Arena on Thursday evening. “It is my hope that we can help each other incorporate the learning from 22 July into everything we do, everything that we are, every single day,” said the King.
Return to Utøya
Many survivors returned to Utøya this afternoon along with bereaved family members and others affected by the mass killing that took place there on 22 July 2011. It was a moving commemoration of the events of 10 years ago.