Celebration of Princess Ingrid Alexandra's 18th birthday: The King's speech
Your Royal Highnesses
President of the Storting
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
My dear Ingrid,
Congratulations to you on your 18th birthday – albeit a little after the fact.
We are very happy to be able to share this day with family and friends, and with representatives from all of Norway.
I think it is quite fortunate that we have been able to celebrate your special day on two separate occasions. It has given us an opportunity to reflect on all that happened in connection with your actual coming of age, back in January.
You joined me in the Council of State for the first time – thankfully without a veto, since one never knows what a young woman with strong views like you might stir up!
It was both convivial and a bit crowded at the head of the table inside the Council Chamber when you and your father took your seats to my left and right.
That Friday in January, I could truly feel the strength and assurance that comes from knowing new generations are waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, you’ll likely have to put up with me a while longer!
And I hope I can continue to be of help, my dear Ingrid, if there are things you wonder about.
You represent the fifth generation of what, for a long time now, has been referred to as a rather young monarchy – which came to Norway in 1905, and in truth is not so young anymore.
We are the stewards of traditions and values, even as we are formed by the times in which we live. The tone of the monarchy at any given time is set by whomever is King – or Queen.
Each of us probably feels to some degree that our predecessor is a hard act to follow. But we have no other choice than to do what feels right to us. To find our own inner role model, as it were.
I have told you this many times before, Ingrid, but a grandfather is allowed to repeat his most important piece of advice over and over: Be yourself. And trust that that will be enough – always.
When your turn comes, I hope you will have the same experience that I have been lucky enough to have throughout my life and calling: that there are many people ready to help and support you. Our institutions, official agencies and organisations have been here for a long time. Together with people from across the country, they will help to give you strength, and will be of great support.
But all in due time, and not for a good while yet.
I am glad it has been possible for you to grow and develop in freedom and security – to be young, with everything that belongs to that phase of life. And since the mission you have been given will last a lifetime, it is important that you take plenty of time for schooling and education. You can still devote many years to this. And don’t forget to play! I myself am quite experienced at that. As you know, the sea is where I play most and best. And happily, you like being out there, too.
In my speech for your confirmation, I said that you were becoming an adult at a time when building bridges between people – and saving the planet – will be the top priorities. Recent years have also shown us that truths we believed were unshakeable can be undermined with little warning. The pandemic and the outbreak of war in Europe have forced us to acknowledge our vulnerability, both as individuals and as a world community. Our democratic values must be defended – again and again.
Your great-great-grandfather, King Haakon, adopted the motto We give our all for Norway. We are repeatedly being challenged to rethink the significance of this phrase – what it means in practice. This does not just apply to us as members of the Royal Family, but to everyone who lives in this country.
Fortunately, there are many of us who share this challenge.
My dear Ingrid,
Thank you for allowing us to follow along as you grow and mature. I love you very much and wish you all the best on your journey ahead. Happy Birthday.
I would ask you all to please join me in a toast to Princess Ingrid Alexandra.