Princess Ingrid Alexandra's confirmation: The King's speech
President of the Storting,
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
Dear Ingrid Alexandra,
Congratulations on your confirmation!
The last time we were gathered here at the Palace to celebrate you, you cried all the way through the Bishop’s christening speech in the Palace Chapel, and then you slept all the way through my speech to you during the luncheon.
Today it is very nice to see that you are both awake and happy – so you can hear everything that we would like to say to you on this very special occasion!
Because we have only good things to say.
Your birth heralded the start of a new era in our country’s history. Norway has not had a princess in line to succeed to the throne since Queen Margaret governed the country under the Kalmar Union in the 1300s. The constitutional amendment in 1990 introducing absolute primogeniture laid the foundation for your calling and future from the moment you first opened your eyes. It is truly good to know that the Norwegian monarch can also be a woman!
As your grandparents we have been able to follow you closely through these 15 years – and we have grown more and more convinced that you will thrive in your future role. You have many fine qualities that will serve you well – as a person, and perhaps especially in light of the mission that awaits you:
You are conscientious, clear-minded and capable. You are warm and wise. And you have a great sense of humour! I can guarantee that you will need that. I hope you have gotten a little of that from me. And I think you have also inherited a healthy dose of your grandmother’s thirst for knowledge. You are sociable and make friends easily. All of this will be worth its weight in gold as you move forward in your life.
My dear Ingrid, confirmation involves an affirmation of baptism. As young children we are unable to make our own choices. I am not sure whether you actually feel you have made your own choice today either, but choice always involves a paradox. Because no one can choose the life into which they are born. Nonetheless, every individual has the possibility to define his or her own life, to make the best of the framework they have been given. To fill life with the meaning of their own choosing, to seek a direction, values and a way to live.
You have this opportunity as well. And if there is one piece of advice I would give you today, as King, godfather and grandfather, it is this: Be yourself. Find your own path. Any attempt to be someone other than who you are is bound to backfire, and it will diminish you. Trust that you, as you are, are enough!
Today, when you confirmed that the faith in which you were baptised is your faith, you were also confirming your affiliation with a history going back a thousand years in our country. This is the bedrock of our holidays and traditions, our stories, prayers and psalms. The story of who we were and who we have become. Understanding your own roots also makes you better equipped to meet people with different backgrounds from yours with openness and trust.
But confirmation also paves the way for a deeply personal platform for life. A pillar to sustain you through anything and everything. My faith has been extremely important to me. And perhaps you, too, will find that your faith gives you strength as you continue to grow.
On the day of your baptism, Ingrid, several of us expressed a fervent hope that you would have the freedom to develop – that you would have a secure childhood, and be at liberty to explore life as an adolescent, with the many experiences that entails, to become whole and confident as a person. That aspiration remains just as strong today, and you are well on your way to fulfilling it. You have caring, wise parents who give you guidance. You are blessed with siblings and an extended family who wish you well – and who want you to find good balance in life. Now you have entered a turbulent phase of life when you will encounter many feelings and frustrations you must learn to understand. It is my hope that you will be given the peace and the space you need to do this.
Your strong commitment to the environment fills me with hope, Ingrid. We need it. Norway needs it. The world needs it. And our planet needs it. In the prayer of Francis of Assisi, which you read so beautifully in the chapel today, we ask to be made an instrument of peace. This is important on several levels: We pray to find both joy and meaning in our service. At the same time, we pray that we can give of ourselves to cultivate peace among people as well as between people and nature.
You are growing up at a time when building bridges between people – and saving the planet – will be among the most important tasks. I am certain that you and your generation, with your knowledge and understanding, will manage to find good solutions. Better than any of us who go before you.
My dearest Ingrid, I wish you success in all your endeavours. I am proud of you. I love you. And I am here for you. As your family it is our privilege to walk beside you as the path of your life unfolds.
With these words I ask everyone to join me in a toast to Princess Ingrid Alexandra!