‘A people’s king with presence, understanding, ability to inspire, and a twinkle in his eye’; these were the words used to describe King Harald among the messages of goodwill sent on his 80th birthday.
King Harald’s motto is ‘All for Norway’, as it was for his father Olav, and grandfather Haakon. Harald could just as easily have chosen ‘Norway for all,’ wrote John O. Egeland in Dagbladet’s main editorial on the occasion of the King’s 80th birthday.
In the newspaper article, the commentator brings attention to several qualities he thinks are important on the occasion of the King’s birthday: ‘rock solid commitment, a high workload, and a phlegmatic outlook, especially self-irony and a sense of humour.
These are good qualities to possess in a country where the people require that royalty are both majestically elevated, and simple people’, wrote Egeland.
He also believes that King Harald has mastered the crucial balance of never leading from the front in social development, but also never to be at the back.
‘It is an extremely demanding balancing act, that requires prudence, knowledge, patience and a finely tuned political and cultural ear. Harald has shown that he has what it takes,’ was Egeland’s conclusion.
Harald Stanghelle believes the King to be a far-sighted monarch. ‘He clearly sees those who are most in need of a royal shoulder pat’, he wrote in Aftenposten newspaper.
In his commentary, he used these words to describe the qualities possessed by Norway’s King, ‘confidence, community-orientation and generosity’.
In Norway today, all the royal authority depends on how relative it is, he wrote.
‘King Harald is a great innovator in adding to our royal variety. He stands out as a man who understands his own time. King Harald changes, so to preserve’, wrote Stanghelle.
When King Harald celebrates his 80th birthday today, he can do so, secure in the knowledge that he is obviously the most popular member of the royal family.
VG newspaper took a survey, and in it, 80% gave the King the highest score of all royal family members when it comes to popularity.
‘The figures speak unambiguously and clearly. When 80% of the Norwegian people believe that King Harald is doing a good job, it shows a unique ‘understanding’ for a reigning monarch’, said TV2’s ‘Royal House’ expert, Kjell Arne Totland.
Another royalty expert, Carl-Erik Grimstad, professor and former assistant manager at the Royal Palace, explained that King Harald’s position among the people has been growing throughout his time as king.
‘A king is often like a good wine, it gets better during storage. It has something to do with the fact that he has managed to keep up with developments in our society.
That was something his father also managed, but King Harald is probably more flexible. And it is generally known that in this community, you have to be flexible in order to survive as an institution’, he said.
According to Totland, the Norwegian royal family’s great strength has always been its ability to reflect Norwegian common values.
‘This is very much Harald. Like his father, and grandfather, before him, he has become a people’s king and a rallying point for the nation.
Harald is perhaps even closer to the people than his two predecessors. He is also the first monarch of modern times who was born in Norway’, he said.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today