Friday, May 20, 2011
Norwegian National Day
There was no brutal war, there was no social chaos, no guillotines in the town square. The union with Sweden was dissolved and the issue was put to the public; to become a republic or a monarchy. Showing their great wisdom and common sense the Norwegian people opted for a monarchy and Prince Carl of Denmark was imported to become HM King Haakon VII of Norway, taking a name from Norwegian history to reiterate the fact that this was not a "new" nation but an ancient one resuming full independence. As it happens, they chose wisely as King Haakon VII proved in establishing good relations with all of Norway's neighbors, turning even the Norwegian republicans into monarchists and finally leading the country with great heroism during the dark days of World War II and the Nazi invasion. In the post-war era they have, as stated, suffered many of the problems that their neighbors have though, to their credit, Norwegians have refrained from joining the European Union.
HM King Harald V has been a solid and admirable constitutional monarch. Like the rest he has been obliged to go along with some less than positive changes but he had also done very praiseworthy things such as his 'behind-the-scenes' defense of the established Church of Norway (Lutheran) when the government wanted to cut all ties with Christianity in the largely secular country. The monarchy remains popular, has as strong a position going into the future as one could expect in this day and age and if they do not make the news all that often, it is only because the Norwegian royals have been pretty good about staying out of trouble. Other than one very colorful cousin (by marriage) I have no personal connection with the country, but I salute the Kingdom of Norway for their Royal Family, their history of good decisions and, I confess, especially for being the only Scandinavian country to say "no" to the European Union. Well done the Norwegians I say! I wish the Kingdom a belated happy independence day and long life to the King.