Thousands of people came out on a freezing cold day in Oslo today to help celebrate the silver jubilee of King Harald's accession to the throne on 17 January 1991, thereby fulfilling the King and Queen's wish to celebrate the jubilee with their people. The extended royal family were joined by the Queen of Denmark and the King and Queen of Sweden for the celebrations.
The day started with a service of thanksgivings and commemoration in the Palace Chapel. Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien, Primate of the Church of Norway, preached the sermon, while the lessons were read by Princess Märtha Louise, Princess Astrid's grandson Sebastian Ferner Johansen and the late Princess Ragnhild's granddaughter Sophia Anne Lorentzen.
Later, the royal family took part in a very well-attended winter sports event in the Palace Square, and later walked downhill to the University, where the government hosted a gala performance in its great hall. This evening there is a private, black-tie dinner at the Palace. Outside, hundreds of candles burn in the snow, just as they did on the dark winter night 25 years ago when King Olav died.
To mark the jubilee, the King has struck a new medal, King Harald V's Jubilee Medal 1991-2016, which has been given to the Queen and the other members of the royal family, the foreign royal guests, courtiers, equerries and bodyguards, former courtiers, representatives of the authorities and former prime ministers.
This weekend's events were only the first part of the jubilee celebrations, which will continue in June, when the King and Queen embark on an 11-day-long journey along the coast onboard the Royal Yacht, which will include visits to six major towns and a service of thanksgivings in Nidaros Cathedral on 23 June, the 25th anniversary of their solemn blessing. There will also be another large event in Oslo in late August or early September.