Norwegian royals find safe haven in the port of Cork

THE King and Queen of Norway found a safe harbour in Cork yesterday as the country was lashed by the tail end of a hurricane.

The atrocious weather forced His Majesty, King Harald V, and Queen Sonja, who arrived in Ireland aboard their royal yacht on Monday, to scrap plans to sail into Cork. They instead travelled from Dublin by road on Tuesday for the second leg of their State visit. Their yacht, the Norge, sailed from Dublin through gales and heavy seas and berthed on the North Custom Quay yesterday morning. Amid tight security, the couple and their 50-strong delegation, which included Norway’s Trade and Industry Minister, Odd Eirksen, started the day at the naval base in Haulbowline.

King Harald, who turns 70 next February, unveiled a plaque at the Alexandra Stairs — named in 1885 after the then Princess of Wales, Princess Alexandra — great-grandmother of both the King of Norway and the Queen of England.

The royals then travelled next door to CIT’s National Maritime Training College to open a conference on maritime governance. They toured the building before watching represents of CIT and Norway’s Vestfold University College sign a deal which will result in staff and student exchanges.

The royal couple were then accorded a civic reception at City Hall by Lord Mayor Michael Ahern who presented the king with six Cork silver napkin rings made by Sean Carroll & Sons on Rutland Street.

The King spoke of the trade links between Cork and Norway.

“The Royal yacht is not the first Norwegian vessel to anchor in Cork this year. Nor will it be the last,” he said.

During the afternoon, Queen Sonja opened an exhibition of silver jewellery by Norwegian artists at the city’s public museum in Fitzgerald’s Park.

The Rhythm of Light exhibition will remain open until October 21.

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