Today (or by now rather yesterday) Parliament held a special meeting to commemorate the bicentenary of the Constitution, which was passed on 16 May 1814 and signed and dated the following day. For this occasion the MPs were joined by the royal family, the members of the cabinet and the Supreme Court and the speakers of the parliaments of Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.
The King and Queen were accompanied by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Princess Astrid. Prince Sverre Magnus had apparently been excused, while Princess Märtha Louise, who lives in London, had chosen not to travel to her native land for this important occasion. For Princess Ingrid Alexandra this was her first appearance in Parliament which she, unless the Constitution is changed, will open every year when she succeeds to the throne.
The Constitution bars the King from being present while Parliament is sitting, but as no parliamentary deliberations took place today his presence was "tolerated". Similar meetings have been held in the presence of members of the royal family to commemorate other important occasions, including the 175th anniversary of the Constitution 25 years ago, the 50th, 75th and 100th anniversaries of the dissolution of the personal union with Sweden in 1905 and the 100th anniversary of the introduction of parliamentarianism in 1884, as well as after the terrorist attacks directed against the Labour Party by a right wing extremist in 2011.
Today speeches were given by the Speaker of Parliament, Olemic Thommessen (Conservative), as well as the speakers of the Danish and Swedish parliaments, Mogens Lykketoft and Per Westerberg. Following the meeting the King and Queen hosted a reception at the Palace for nearly all the mayors of the 428 municipalities, while a sparsely attended "people's party" was held in Eidsvoll Square outside the Parliament Building.
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