23 April 2023

The Norwegian Royal Court. Annual Report 2022

The Norwegian Royal Court's annual report for 2022 was published on 13 April 2023. As I wrote last year, the annual report is a great compensation for the lack of the former royal yearbooks. You get a very good summary of the activities of the royal family during the year in question.

From the article «Annual Reports» at the official website:

Annual report for 2022

The celebration of the eighteenth birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra was the most important event for the Royal House of Norway and the Royal Court in 2022. The Princess will one day assume the role as the Norwegian Head of State. In connection with attaining the age of majority, the Princess visited the Storting, the Government and the Supreme Court. She also attended a meeting of the Council of State at the Royal Palace as an observer. Originally scheduled for January, the celebration was postponed until June due to the pandemic. The Princess was celebrated by the Government at Deichman library, and at a gala dinner at the Royal Palace hosted by Their Majesties The King and Queen.

Official engagements

When Norway reopened after the pandemic, the members of the Royal House once again had the opportunity to meet people in person across the country, and in 2022 they paid visits to 10 counties and 37 municipalities. In addition, they participated in several hundred official events and hosted a variety of events at the Royal Palace and Skaugum. They were also able to resume their international travel on behalf of Norway, and paid visits to Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, the US, Italy and Kenya, among others. Guided tours of the Royal Palace were reinstituted, and more than 43 000 people visited the Palace in the course of the eight-week period. In addition, more than 20 000 people visited the two exhibitions at the Queen Sonja Art Stable, “The King’s Cars” and “Open Doors”.

The Royal House of Norway encompasses the King and Queen, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and Princess Ingrid Alexandra. In addition, Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner carries out certain official duties. In November 2022, Princess Märtha Louise, in consultation with The King and close family members, decided that she will not carry out official duties for the Royal House at the present time. This is intended to draw a line that more clearly separates her commercial activity from her role as a member of the Royal Family.

In 2022, the Royal House of Norway, too, dealt with the impact of the crises and the geopolitical situation that Europe and the world have been contending with. Throughout the year, members of the Royal House have taken part in events and met people who are directly affected by the war in Ukraine.  When the Oslo Pride Celebration was subject to an act of terrorism in June, the members of the Royal House took part in the memorial services and commemorative activities.

The war and the crises in Europe have also had ramifications for Norway, and thus on the activities of the Royal Court. Rising prices, especially the price of electricity, have changed the anticipated cost levels. Measures implemented to reduce energy consumption at the Royal Palace by roughly ten per cent during the winter, combined with re-ordering of priorities and austerity measures have provided the funding needed to cover the extra expenses incurred in 2022.

The security project

Over the course of the past years, an extensive security project has been carried out at the Royal Palace and the other Royal residences. The project primarily involves enhancing the security of the properties and surrounding park areas. A major portion of the project activity was completed in 2022, and will be finalised during 2023. The activity has been somewhat delayed, and in 2022 the cost framework was adjusted upwards in line with new prognoses. In the revised national budget, the project’s cost framework was increased to NOK 800 million, and all the remaining activities will be carried out using the allocations provided under the national budget.

Annual accounts

The accounts for the Civil List showed a surplus of NOK 63.6 million in relation to the 2022 allocation. The surplus is due to allocations to the security project that will not be disbursed and charged to expenses until 2023. The 2022 accounts for the security project at the Royal Palace and the other Royal residences therefore show a surplus of NOK 92.7 million. The management accounts for the Royal Court show a deficit of NOK 27.17 million. This is largely due to the transfer of NOK 31 million from the Royal Court’s operating reserve to the security project to cover the increase in the cost framework for the project.

The annual report and accounts of the Royal Court for 2022 have been submitted to the Presidium of the Storting, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, and the Office of the Auditor General of Norway.

Besides the topics mentioned above, the readers can among others enjoy the new Lord Chamberlain's commentary as well as articles about the royal court, the Royal House's cultural outreach activities, audiences, a more environmentally friendly car park, apprentices at the Royal Court, royal orders and medals.

The Lord Chamberlain, Olav Heian-Engdal, replaced Gry Mølleskog in 2022.

The royal family had 769 engagements («oppdrag») in 2022, compared to 635 in 2021. The numbers show that the world has become «more normal» again after the pandemic. In 2019 the number was 723, compared to only 381 in 2020.

The newspapers have written about the annual report, and the focus is of course mostly on the costs. Nettavisen points among others out out that the court paid NOK 1,067,944 for the celebrations of Princess Ingrid Alexandra's 18th birthday. The Government's dinner for the princess cost NOK 3,7 mill. 

But I would rather like to focus on orders and medals! 17 people were awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 2022, which was exactly the same number as in 2021. Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Daniel of Sweden and former Lord Chamberlain Gry Mølleskog all received the Grand Cross (in 2021 the latter was, by the way, awarded the Commander with star). Besides the class of Grand Cross, 4 people became Commanders of the Order of St. Olav, while 10 people became Knights 1st class. The Order of St. Olav is acording to the official website «a reward for distinguished services rendered to Norway and mankind».

34 people received the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in 2022, all classes combined, compared to 56 in 2021, 89 in 2020 and 57 in 2019. The Order of Merit «is conferred on foreign and Norwegian nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway». As usual most of the recipients were dilomats – ambassadors or honorary consuls. Two of the exceptions were the current Lord Chamberlain Olav Heian-Engdal, and the Swedish vaccine coordinator Richard Bergström, who became a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

The Medal of St. Olav is conferred as «a reward for services in advancing knowledge of Norway abroad and for strengthening the bonds between expatriate Norwegians and their descendants and their country of residence». In 2022 two people received the medal – managing director Anne Margrethe Hovland Pye, Great Britain, and shipowner Ragnar Meyer-Knutsen, USA – compared to none in 2021.

53 people received the King's Medal of Merit, compared to 47 people in 2021 and 46 in 2020. The medal is conferred as «a reward for service in the fields of art, science and industry and for outstanding public service».

Finally, the King's Commemorative Medal, which is conferred for particularly meritorious service to the king, was awarded to 9 people in 2022, compared to 32 people in 2021 and 9 people in 2020. 

Previous articles on the subject of the Norwegian Royal Court's annual report:

Downloads of the annual reports for 2005 to 2022 can be found here.

Front cover: © 2022 Kimm Saatvedt/The Norwegian Royal Court.

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