Sunday, 5 July 2009

Duchess of York on King Olav and the monarchy

Sarah, Duchess of York has been a frequent visitor to Norway in the last years and when she attended the Oslo Peace Forum recently she gave an interview to Dagbladet, which was published in their weekend supplement Magasinet yesterday. Among other things the former British Princess speaks of her respect for the Dalai Lama, and adds that she has only met one other man of his stature: “That was your King Olav. He too was a great man”.
She continues: “He was very, very kind to me when I was 24 [sic] years old and completely new in the system. He was so good to me, a great uncle, who said: ‘Come on, it is OK, you can do this’. I often saw him when he came to England. He helped me learn what it meant to be a member of the royal family. I will never forget him”.
The journalist, Simen V. Gonsholt, asks if the late King had a special understanding for children and young people. “Exactly”, replies the Duchess. “He did not make me feel that I did not know anything. He made me feel that I could talk to him, something which is very frightening when you meet a king for the first time. So I think the tradition with a monarchy is very important”.
“Because of King Olav?” asks Gonsholt. “And because I think it is part of a country’s tradition and culture. I saw it most recently when I was here [in Oslo] on your national holiday”, says the Duchess. “I walked down the street and everyone were in their traditional dresses and I became very proud. I loved that day. I think it was a great and marvellous example of people coming together to show a united country”.
She also adds that her former mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, is one of the most dignified people she has met in her life and that she is a wonderful grandmother for the Duchess’s daughters.

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