Crown Prince Haakon, and Princess Mette Marit to visit archipelago with close ties to Norway

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-MaritCrown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The royal couple will visit the Orkney Islands on Friday the 16th of June. The islands were under Norwegian rule until the 1400s.

Many Norwegian words survive in the special, orthodox, dialect, and are also found in place names, such as the name of the capital, Kirkwall, from Kirkevika.

The Crown Prince and Princess will be opening the grand St. Magnus festival in Kirkwall on the 16th and 17th of June. They’ll attend the opening concert, the premiere of ‘I, Pilgrim’, written by Jon Fosse , with music by Scottish composer, Alasdair Nicolson, who’s also artistic director of the festival.

‘I, Pilgrim’ will be performed by the Trondheimsolistene (Trondheim soloists) and BBC Singers.
‘We are delighted that the Norwegian royal couple accepted our invitation to participate at the opening of this year’s festival.

Their visit celebrates, renews and strengthens ties, both historical and current, between Norway and Orkney,’ said Alasdair Nicolson to NTB news agency.

He also drew attention to the festival’s participants, and the strengthening of musical ties. The Kringkastingsorkesteret(Kringkastings Orchestra) and Bergen Domkor (Bergen Choir) will also play at the festival on the 24th of June.

The festival is not only about music. The knitting duo, Arne and Carlos, will be in attendance for the second time. The last time they were at the festival, holding a knitting workshop, the tickets sold out very quickly according to the festival website.

Oldest and greatest
The St. Magnus festival is the oldest, and largest, festival in the Orkney Islands. It was first organized in 1977, and expects to attract approximately 2,000 visitors this year.

In 2017 particularly, the close links between Norway and the Orkney Islands will be marked. It is 900 years since Magnus Erlandsson,the earl of Orkney, was canonised.

‘Magnus the Holy’ is the only Norwegian holiday weekend to receive papal recognition, and his memory is still very clearly visible in the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, built by his nephew in 1137, wrote the royal house on their website.

Alasdair Nicolson describes Magnus Erlandsson as the most important person in Orkney’s history. A portrait of the Norwegian earl, painted by Håkon Gullvåg, hangs in St. Magnus Cathedral, where the opening concert will be held during the festival.

The royal couple’s official program on the Orkney Islands will last only a short while, beginning in the morning of Friday the 16th of June with a memorial ceremony for Norwegians buried at St. Olaf’s cemetery on the outskirts of Kirkwall. In the evening, there will be a tour,a reception, and the opening concert in St. Magnus Cathedral.

On Saturday, there’ll be a visit to the prehistoric settlement, Skara Brae, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village originated in approximately 3000 BCE, and lasted for at least 600 years. It is the best-preserved settlement in Western Europe from the Neolithic era.

The village Skara Brae was discovered after a heavy storm in 1850, after being buried under the dunes on the west coast of the Orkney’s main island, Mainland.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today