Scandinavian Neighbours Show Support for Norway
Following the tragedy in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, Norway last Friday July 22nd, the Scandinanivan nation’s neighbours Denmark and Sweden have shown their support and expressed their sympathies for the victims of the twin bombing and shooting.
Both the Danish and Swedish heads of state, Queen Margrethe II and King Carl XVI Gustaf respectively, sent messages of condolence to Norway’s King, Harald V. Queen Margrethe’s complete letter to King Harald has not been made public, but a Danish Court spokesperson said that, “Both the Queen and the Prince Consort are appalled by the tragic events in Norway. Their thoughts go to the families of the victims and the entire Norwegian people.” Similar thoughts were expressed by the Swedish King, “The Queen and I have learned with dismay and disgust about the events in Oslo and its surroundings. I have made contact with King Harald, and the Queen and I have expressed our painful sympathy to all victims and their families and friends. I do not find words to describe how we feel in this heavy moment. In times of such severe events, we must support each other.” Queen Margrethe II and her husband, Prince Henrik, also cancelled the Saturday events of their visit to Greenland as a mark of respect for the victims.
Church services were also held in both countries to mourn the victims. On Sunday July 24th, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel attended a service at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, Kronprinsesse Märthas Kirk, in Stockholm. The couple were greeted by the Church’s priest, Terje Raddum, as they arrived for the service which saw around 180 Swedes light candles and pray. Raddum said that the Crown Princess had been deeply affected by the tragedy, which could easily be seen on Victoria’s face.
On Wednesday July 27th, Queen Margrethe was accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary for a memorial service at the Copenhagen Cathedral. The Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Copenhagen was deemed too small for the service, which was also attended by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and other government officials.
The Queen and the Crown Prince Couple lead the mourners in the Cathedral in prayer for Friday’s victims, while Prime Minister Rasmussen gave a speech in which he said, “My heart froze to ice,” upon hearing of the shooting on Utøya. He continued by promising the Norwegian people that the Danes would continue providing their “brother country” with support and compassion, and that Denmark as a nation would stand behind Norway to “defend and preserve that which was attempted to be taken from us, on 22 July. Freedom. Openness. Democracy. Trust. Community. Basic values that bind our nations together.”
Prior to the service, those who attended light candles and left flowers at the base of the staircase leading up to the altar of the Cathedral. Wreaths from the Royal Family and various other Danish institutions were also in place. The memorial also started on the heels of breaking news just after lunchtime in Denmark that a Danish women, Hanne Anette Balch Fjalestad, who was on Utøya at the time of the shooting and had been missing since the attack, had been identified and confirmed dead at an Oslo hospital. Ms Balch Fjalestad’s daughter was also on the island, but survived. Her father told TV2 that it was a “relief to know, in spite of the sorrow.”
Sixty-eight people have been confirmed killed on Utøya, and eight in the bomb blast in Oslo earlier on the 22nd. The total dead currently sits at 76.
Filed under Denmark, Norway, Sweden
Tagged Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Harald V of Norway, Margrethe II of Denmark, Memorial, Prime Minister L.L. Rasmussen of Denmark, Prince Daniel of Sweden, Terrorism.