Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Haakon returns to Norway

June 7, 1945

King Haakon VII of Norway has returned home after five years of exile, reports the New York Times.  He received a "rousing welcome from his freedom-loving people, who gave vent to all their pent emotion of five years."

The date of the homecoming was "peculiarly appropriate."  On June 7, 1940,  the King and his Government left the country for England.  Forty years ago today,  Norway "regained complete independence from Sweden."

Despite transportation difficulties, people thronged into Oslo from all over the country, and waited "patiently in a steady downpour of reign" until the King arrived in "the beflagged capital."   King Haakon was accompanied by Crown Princess Martha and her three children.  They crossed from Great Britain on the cruiser Norfolk and were escorted by four destroyers.  As the cruiser approached Oslo, the royal party transferred to Heimdal, an old gunboat,  which Haakon had arrived on from Denmark to accept the Norwegian throne in November 1940.

There were cheers, hoots of whistles, and horns as the King and his party made their way along the Quay to the great square in front of City Hall.  When he stepped ashore, Haakon was greeted by Karl Hambro, President of the Storting; Prime Minister Johann Nygaardsvold, and other officials.   He also "inspected a guard of honor composed of Norwegian, British and American forces." 

Crown Prince Olav was one of several persons to give a speech.

King Haakon's reply, which was broadcast throughout the country, was an expression of joy to be home again.  He said it had been difficult for him and his Government to decide to stay or leave "the country to keep up the fight for Norway."   They chose to fight, "and that decision has been proved right," the king said.    He appealed for unity, and he concluded with the words "All for Norway."

The crowd sang the national anthem as the King and his family walked to the town hall for a reception.   Tonight, the Royal Family stood on the palace balcony to view a procession of 80,000 Norwegians.  This was the biggest procession in Oslo's history.

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