King Harald V poses with Queen Sonja for his 80th birthday. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix
“It's always nice to be around him. His laughter is often what dominates meetings,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg; “He is an incredibly nice person,” added Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre: “A wonderful king,” said Progress Party leader Siv Jensen.
Former prime minister Thorbjørn Jagland dubbed him “klokekongen”, or “The wise king” for his rare combination of high intelligence and wisdom.
A survey carried out by Verdens Gång newspaper, titled “Yes, we love the King!”, found that 80 percent of Norwegians believed he was “doing a good job”.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Royal expert Kjell Arne Totland gushed. “When 80 percent of the Norwegian people say that Kong Harald is doing a good job, it shows a unique respect for a reigning monarch.”
King Harald won global praise last September when his powerful speech celebrating the country’s diversity went viral, with a clip on NRK being seen 2m times.
“Norwegians believe in God, Allah, everything and nothing,” he added. “In other words, Norway is you. Norway is us,” King Harald said.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Olemic Thommessen, president of Norway’s parliament started the day with an official birthday greeting at the gates of the Royal Palace in Oslo.
King Harald will hold his official birthday celebration jointly with Queen Sonja on May 10.