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Plaque commemorating the King's exile

Her Highness Princess Astrid, mrs Ferner, unveils plaque commemorating King Haakon and the Norwegian government's exile in London during WW2.

Your Majesties,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The United Kingdom’s hospitality, and the tremendous support that it showed to Norway during the Second World War, is to this day remembered with deep gratitude throughout Norway.

The British government’s ready invitation to my Family and to the Norwegian government to continue their work from British soil made it possible for Norway to carry on its struggle against Nazi Germany. This was a powerful message to Norwegians under occupation, which also inspired many Norwegians outside Norway’s borders to join in the allied war effort. The existence of an active government-in-exile also permitted a rapid return to democratic political life in Norway after the war.

The government’s work during the war centred on this house, which was transformed from the Norwegian Legation into the Official Residence of my grandfather - King Haakon 7. Throughout the war, he presided over weekly cabinet meetings here, around the very same table that is still in use as a dining table in the residence today.

The good relations between Norway and the UK have only deepened and strengthened since the war. We share basic values, interests and challenges, and co-operate closely on a wide range of foreign policy questions. We remain today the closest of allies.

It is therefore a great honour for me today to unveil the plaque commemorating not only the work of King Haakon and the Norwegian government in exile, but also the exceptional generosity that Her Majesty’s Government extended to Norway and my family during a time of great need.

27.10.2005

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