6 November 2014

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in Serbia

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway made an official visit to Serbia today (6 November 2014), where he among others opened a new functionality for Telenor's mobile bank and meet participants of the Telenor Youth Forum as well as Norwegian language students at the Institute of Scandinavian Languages at the University of Belgrade.

According to the Norwegian Royal Court's website, Crown Prince Haakon later met up with the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić, followed by an official luncheon.

The Crown Prince also attended the opening of Human Rights House Belgrade, which will be home to various Serbian human rights organisations, before he moved on to the Zemun district where he attended the re-opening of the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Rocco, which during the last few years has undergone extensive renovation works. He also visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel nearby.

In Zemun Crown Prince Haakon had the pleasure of meeting his distant royal relative, Crown Prince Alexander, head of the former royal family of Yugoslavia (Royal House of Karadjordjevic), and his wife Crown Princess Katherine. The Norwegian Royal Court doesn't mention this encounter, but fortunately Crown Prince Alexander's office has released the following information:
Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Hakon Magnusson [sic!] of Norway, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visited Zemun today to attend a ceremony at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Rocco, following that they visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel. This ceremony was also attended by State Secretary Dilek Ayhan of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, HE Mr Nils Ragnar Kamswag, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, and great number of members of the diplomatic corps and religious representatives.

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Rocco was built in 1836, on the foundations of an older chapel, and the architect was Joseph Felber, who also built the Zemun Church of Holy Trinity. The church suffered in 1990’s, but recently it was renovated thanks to the Norwegian Government and its former glory has again been fully restored.

Crown Prince Alexander expressed his delight that HRH Crown Prince Haakon is in Serbia and that they met on such wonderful occasion. “Crown Prince Haakon of Norway is the first member of the Norwegian Royal Family to visit Serbia for 40 years. I hope meetings like this will happen more often and that each future meeting will further deepen the friendship between our two countries to the benefit of both our nations.”

Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine also visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel in Zemun and talked to the priests who told Their Royal Highnesses about its long history.
Crown Prince Alexander's office has also published a few photos from the visit. Later in the evening the Norwegian Crown Prince attended an official dinner hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador in Belgrade, Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg. According to the Norwegian Royal Court, the "guest list reflects the extensive cooperation between Norway and Serbia in various spheres of society". Not sure if the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Serbia were invited, but I really hope so.

The Crown Prince of Norway's given names are Haakon Magnus, but only the first name Haakon is in daily use, which was confirmed after the extraordinary council of state on 23 July 1973, three days after his birth.

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