Being knighted by a King is a great honor, but would a penguin by aware of this?
Maybe one, that of Nils Olav, the three foot tall penguin knighted by King Harald of Norway. He became the first black-and-white pint-sized Norwegian Sir with wings after inspecting the Norwegian King’s Guard, which is visiting Edinburgh for the annual Military Tattoo.
“We have a long-standing history with the Norwegian King’s Guard and it is something we are extremely proud of,” said David Windmill, head of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the owners of Edinburgh Zoo where the penguin lives.
The bird first became an honorary member of the Norwegian regiment in the 1970s, when a lieutenant called Nils Egelien visited the Scottish Zoo. Norway’s head of state was then King Olav V.
On Friday he was granted the highest honour yet, when a guardsman dubbed a sword on each side of his head — where his shoulders should be — to confirm his regimental knighthood.
After the ceremony, Nils walked out to cheers and applause at a special ceremony held at his home in Edinburgh Zoo on Friday.
On his best behaviour, the proud bird waddled out to “inspect” the 130 Royal Guardsmen on parade before being dubbed on his shoulders to confirm his knighthood. A medal was also attached to his wing.
Unable to attend the ceremony, King Harald, sent his own message of congratulations. Calling him “our trusty and well-beloved” Nils, he declared the penguin to be “in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood”.
Norwegian King’s guardsman Captain Rune Wiik added: “We are extremely proud of Nils Olav and pleased that an enduring part of the Royal Guard is resident in Scotland helping to further strengthen ties between our two countries.”
To view a video of the knighted penguin, click here