Dining with King Olav V of Norway

1987 in November I was, with my wife, invited to an official formal dinner at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.  The card should be framed and hung on a viable spot. http://english.turkcebilgi.com/Rideau+Hall

King Olav V of Norway 

http://www.kongehuset.no/c27269/seksjonstekst/vis.html?tid=27680 was on a state visit to Canada. His Excellency came as far west as Calgary, but never visited Vancouver.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_visits_made_by_King_Olav_V_of_Norway

The invitation was by: H. E. The Right Honourable Governor General Jeanne Sauvé , and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Mulroney was the Canadian co-host. There was no explanation why I was invited, but it was to become one of the biggest events of my life. During Expo’86, the World Exposition in Vancouver, I meet a lot of dignitaries and foreign officials, including invitation to a lunch with The Crown Prince of Thailand, now The King.

Accompanied by my wife, we travelled to Ottawa one day early. This was a big event. Renting tuxedos, formal dress, and even shoes, takes it’s time. When the event started we were impeccable dressed and primed. There were about 100 guests. I recognized many of them from the Canadian and Norwegian press and TV, and knew some of them, like Bob King, chairman of the Calgary  Olympics,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988_Winter_Olympics

http://www.olympic.org/en/content/Olympic-Games/All-Past-Olympic-Games/Winter/Calgary-1988/

and Horst Bulau, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEt_EUObiY0 the ski jumper.

The reception was very formal. Each couple was announced, then presented to a receiving line, with the formal hosts, and King Olav V. Shaking His hand in the receiving line I told him that I was in the Kings Guard in Norway in 1964. He said: Then we will talk after dinner.

In my service as a Kings Guard in 1964 I spent 65 days/nights guarding the King at the Palace in Oslo and at the summer farm residence at Skaugum. Seeing him often, but never meeting or talking to him. But, at the Skaugum residence he would come out on the balcony in the very early morning, with a mug of coffee, and great us : Good Morning Guardsmen, and we politely yelled back: Good Morning my King.

The dinner was very good. I especially remember the treats of Canadian Arctic Char and Caribou meat. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney held a formal speech, in English and Quebec French. King Olav V responded in his speech, in both languages, expressing the close relationships of Canada and Norway, especially in Arctic relations and shipping.

After the long dinner, and appropriate drinks, the diners were shown into a large reception hall with fireplace, comfortable chairs and a nice place to have a conversation. King Olav V was a very good listener, he also had some questions I was surprised over. He had good knowledge of the shipping industry  as related to Vancouver. He said he was sorry that he could not visit Vancouver this time. He actually said that he was getting old and did not travel so well anymore. 

He visited two countries, nine cities, with eleven receptions and dinners; all in one week. The next day he was having a meeting with President Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C.

I thought that I was invited as a well-known Norwegian in Canada.  I was profiled fairly well as Economic Development Commissioner in B.C., getting some solid result, lots of ribbon cutting by ministers, many pictures in the papers and TV.  An hour-long documentary on CBC profiling the fish farm industry was shown on TV repeatedly, many knew my bearded face from there.  I also served a president one year for Economic Development Association of B.C. , and on the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Association of Canada.

The six months running a show at Expo’86 was also high-profile. With two years prior preparation, I was in the media frequently. Also responsible for the establishing of the Canadian Fish Farming Industry, on both the Atlantic and Pacific Coast, and establishing The Fish Expo: AquaWest, a major exposition started in ’86 and then every second year after that.

Great to my surprise, there were no Norwegians at the dinner. Famous or not. I was like the others, invited as a representative of the great Canadian diversity of persons that represented business, sport and culture at that time. A fantastic honor for me. My ego has been high ever since.

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