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Norway Travel Guide
Royal Family of Norway

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The Royal Family of Norway is a branch of the princely family of House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, originally from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. Since 1991 the king has been Harald V, the 66th since Unification, but the first King in many hundred years to actually have been born in Norway. Following the introduction of a parliamentary system of government in 1884, the duties of the Monarch have become largely representative and ceremonial. He or she:

Is Head of State
Opens the Storting
Formally dissolves and installs governments
Presides over meetings in the Council of State
Functions as the nominal head or High Protector of the Church of Norway
Is Commander-in-Chief of the Norwegian Defence Force
Receives credentials from Ambassadors-in-waiting
Represents Norway during state visits both abroad and in Norway
Serves as fountain of honour
Holds audiences with prominent Norwegian figures within politics, industry and commerce and culture.

However, the Monarch does retain some Royal Prerogatives. He may issue pardons for prisoners (Article 20) and engage in war (Article 26), although it is dubious whether the latter would occur today. However, during the German occupation, Haakon VII said he would abdicate rather than appoint a collaborationist government led by Vidkun Quisling. The Monarch acts a symbol of unity, and a majority of Norwegians are still in favour of retaining the monarchy. There is also broad political consensus on this issue.

The Norwegian monarchy is unique in the sense that in 1905, when Norway declared its independence, a referendum was held asking the electorate to vote for either a monarchy or a republic. Even though only men were allowed to vote at the time, women also organised petitions. The referendum resulted with a majority in favour of a monarchy.

Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia

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