15 April 2010

Royal Theatre gala performance in an ash cloud

The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull at Iceland has caused problems also for guests travelling to Denmark to take part in the celebrations of HM Queen Margrethe II's 70th anniversary. Volcanic ash has been spread by wind to most of Northern Europe. Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of rock which may cause serious problems for air planes, and for security reasons air space has been closed or is about to close in several countries, including Norway, United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark.

The original plan was that the King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway would attend the gala performance in the Royal Theatre on Thursday night, while Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit would join them on Friday for the main celebration. But Queen Sonja was not able to fly to Copenhagen and therefore had to drive by car to Oslo. The Crown Prince had intended to preside over the Council of State at the Royal Palace in Oslo on Friday morning before heading for Copenhagen, but he got stuck in London on his way home from Qatar.

King Harald V takes his constitutional duties seriously and has decided to stay behind to preside over the Council of State. According to the deputy information director Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen at the Norwegian Royal Court, the only representative of the Norwegian Royal House tonight will be Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who travelled by car early Thursday morning. She will attend all the arrangements on Thursday and Friday. Her husband will drive from London to Copenhagen and is expected to arrive in time for the gala dinner on Friday night.

Queen Sonja will drive by car to Denmark early on Friday, while the king will join her after the Council of State has taken place. If the weather conditions change to the better on Friday afternoon, the king and queen might take a plane instead, but as it looks now the airspace will be closed the whole Friday and probably also on Saturday. King Harald V's is going to President Lech Kaczynski's funeral on Sunday in Krakow, but that trip might also be cancelled.


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