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Official visit to Canada: Screening of "The King's Choice"

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the gala screening of Norway's Oscar candidate, "The King's Choice", in Toronto.

Your Honour,
Dear friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this election-free zone. You can sit back an relax and have a bit of break from that. Then you can dive back in after this event.

It is really great to be back in Toronto. One of the most important cities in the world of films, and home of course to the Toronto Film Festival. Canada has fostered many talented actors and filmmakers. One of my all time favorites is a Sci-fi movie eXistenz from 1999 - a Canadian film. And some of the funniest people on the screen are Canadian, such as Jim Carrey and Michael Cera. 

The movie that we are about to see is more serious. The movie we are seeing is set in the second world war  - in the early days.

Norway developed a close tie to Toronto during World War II. The first training camp for Norwegian fighter pilots, known as Little Norway, was located in what is today the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

My father, King Harald, visited Toronto and Little Norway several times as a small boy, when he was living in exile. The hospitality shown by this city at a crucial time in Norway’s history has given Canada and Toronto a special place in the hearts of Norwegians.

It is therefore particularly appropriate that the film The King’s Choice is having its first international screening right here.

This year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ascension to the throne of my parents. One of the events we arranged on this occasion, was to invite everyone to an outdoor screening of The King’s Choice in the Palace Park in Oslo.

And it was completely packed - I think we had around 12 000 people there - just a few weeks ago. A rather cold fall evening with a little bit of rain also, but it was an unforgettable experience to see the film for the first time in this way, together with my family.

Many of the scenes in the film has been shot inside the Palace in Oslo, and also in our own home right outside of Oslo called Skaugum.

So just to give you a little background:
On the 9th of April 1940, Nazi troops invaded Norway. The Government, members of Parliament and the Royal Family had to flee Oslo. My great-grandfather, King Haakon VII, was given an ultimatum by the occupation forces: 

Surrender and appoint the Nazi-friendly leader Vidkun Quisling as prime minister, or be responsible for the loss of thousands of lives.

The film shows the dilemmas King Haakon and his son, my grandfather, were facing. It tells the story of three very dramatic days in Norwegian history.

In both Norway and Canada, we are fortunate to be living in well-functioning democracies. Reflecting over our history, we are reminded that democracy, security and freedom should never be taken for granted. 

The King’s Choice has been appointed the Norwegian Oscar-contribution 2017. Over the last few years, Norwegian film has received international acclaim. We wish the film the best of luck in the Oscar competition – and are very proud to present it to this distinguished audience here in Toronto tonight.

I hope you will enjoy the movie!
Thank you for your attention.




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Crown Prince Haakon of Norway speaks at the gala screening of the Norwegian movie The King's Choice during an official visit to Toronto, Canada. Photo: Christian Lagaard, the Royal Court