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The King’s constitutional role

Today the King’s duties are mainly representative and ceremonial. When the Constitution states that: “the executive power is vested in the King”, this now means that it is vested in the Government.

The King undertakes the formal opening of the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) every autumn. He plays an important role in connection with changes of government and presides over the Council of State at the Royal Palace. The King and Queen make state visits to other countries and are hosts to foreign Heads of State who visit Norway. Newly appointed ambassadors to Norway from other countries must present their credentials to the King during a formal audience at the Royal Palace. The King is Commander-in-Chief of the country’s armed forces, and holds the rank of general in the Army and Air Force, and admiral in the Navy. The King also served as the formal head of the Church of Norway in accordance with Article 4 of the Constitution until the constitutional amendment of 21 May 2012.

In addition to granting audiences, the King’s day-to-day duties also include meetings with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and representatives of the Defence Establishment. The King also travels to different parts of Norway, where he visits public and private institutions.