King Harald of Norway has delighted Norwegians – and the world – with a passionate speech in support of LGBT rights, religious tolerance and refugees.
In a five-minute monologue at a royal garden party, the 79-year-old King made an emotional appeal for acceptance and inclusiveness that has since gone viral and been shared far beyond Norway's borders.
“Norway is above all people,” he said. From Sweden, to Afghanistan and Somalia, Norwegians come from around the world.
Tolerance and acceptance
King Harald, who has spent 25 years on the throne, gave his backing to gay rights, saying: “Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other.”
Religious diversity also featured in his speech. Norwegians believe “in God, in Allah, in everything and in nothing,” he said.
Drawing on the words of the national anthem – “Yes, we love this country” – he said Norwegians also sang about each other, calling for solidarity and unity.
‘Home is where the heart is’
King Harald reminded listeners that his own grandparents arrived in Norway from England and Denmark 110 years ago.
“It’s not always easy to say where we come from,” he said. “To which nationality we belong. Home is where the heart is.”
We can’t always place this within the boundaries of national borders, he argued. Norwegians aren't just from Norway, but from “Afghanistan, Pakistan and Poland, from Sweden, Somalia and Syria."
Finally, the monarch said he hoped that Norwegians will feel that, "we - despite our differences – are one people.”