As Norway continues to mourn the 93 people who were killed in the dual attacks on Friday by a far right zealot, its royal family has been reaching out and grieving along with the rest of the country. Sunday saw the adult members attend church services in memory of those who died and were injured.
Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja, along with their daughter Princess Martha Louise and her husband Ari Behn, went to Oslo Cathedral at 11am local time for the “mass of grief and hope” service. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and several other high ranking members of Norwegian politics also attended.
The Bishop of Oslo, Ole Christian Kvarme, officiated at service, and started by quoting the poet Nordahl Grieg: “We are so few in this country, every fallen are brother and friend”.
The Prime Minister spoke about unity during this difficult time, saying”If a man can see so much hatred, think so much love we can all see together.”
Also at 11am local time, at Norderhov Church in Ringerike, the Crown Princely couple attended a similar mass not far from Utøya, the island where nearly one hundred young people were massacred. Walking hand in hand with her husband Haakon, Mette-Marit looked visibly upset as she went to the church that included family members and survivors of the shooting.
Bishop Laila Aasen Dahl Tunsberg spoke of what she called the disastrous Friday:
“The future was attempted stolen from us. It was inconceivable many young people who lost their lives. Today we are gathered to silence and contemplation in prayer.”
Just as they simultaneously attended memorial masses, the royals simultaneously visited nearby hospitals. The King and Queen went to Ullevål hospital while Haakon and Mette-Marit went to Ringerike Hospital. Both couples met with the wounded, their families and the hospital staff.
“I think I speak on behalf of all of Norway when I say that we will stand together behind you,” Crown Princess Mette-Marit told the victims.
“It is important to say to those who experienced it that everyone in Norway wants to be supportive. They were asked in an extreme situation,” said the Crown Prince.
After their visit, King Harald and Queen Sonja went to the site of the downtown Oslo bombings to see firsthand the destruction of the government buildings. The couple were briefed on the injuries from the blast and met with the police.
Also showing their support were Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. They attended a memorial service at a Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Stockholm also on Sunday morning.
Sources: Kongehuset, Aftenposten, BT.no