Published 1 February 2018

Your Majesties, I bring warm greetings from my grandmother The Queen to you both and to the Norwegian people.  Her Majesty has very fond memories of her three State Visits to Norway, and of hosting visits by Your Majesties and King Olav.

The Duke of Cambridge

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished guests.

Vi er veldig glad for å være i Norge

Thank you for the wonderfully warm welcome we have received.  We have a splendid programme and tonight’s dinner will be especially memorable for us.

Your Majesties, I bring warm greetings from my grandmother The Queen to you both and to the Norwegian people.  Her Majesty has very fond memories of her three State Visits to Norway, and of hosting visits by Your Majesties and King Olav.

For the United Kingdom, our relationship with Norway is extensive and very special.  We are North Sea neighbours.  We are allies.  We are close partners in all sorts of enterprises.  But above all we are the strongest of friends.

I don't know if this story reached Norway but, last year, we had a fine illustration of what good relations between our two countries mean in practice.

The story – which is true – is that some under-19 players of the Banks of Dee Football Club in Aberdeen lost control of their football.  The ball ended up in the river, which led to the North Sea.

The ball was later found over 1,000 miles away - on the shores of Vanna, in northern Norway.

Kind people in Vanna found the ball, and saw from the markings who had lost it.  These people not only contacted the club – but then travelled all the way to Aberdeen to return the ball in person. The story warmed many British hearts, and made us appreciate all the more how lucky we are to have Norwegians as our neighbours.

Geography and history have made Norway and the United Kingdom not only North Sea neighbours, but the staunchest of allies.

In Britain we will forever admire the courageous spirit of Norwegians during the Second World War.

King Haakon’s staunch resistance to the Nazis resonated strongly in Britain, a beacon of defiance, as Europe lived through one of its darkest periods.

Defending freedom is a core value for both Norwegians and Britons. The cherished symbols of our freedom and friendship are the Christmas trees sent from Norwegian communities to Britain each December.  These remain as warmly appreciated today, as they were 70 years ago when the generous tradition began.

The war years and their immediate aftermath convinced both our countries that we must maintain strong national defences.  Britain and Norway were among the founding members of NATO in 1949.  And in the 21st century, we continue to be in the NATO vanguard, adapting our alliance to the threats of today.

British and Norwegian armed forces serve together on NATO missions.  They train together.  They will soon be operating the same sophisticated fighter aircraft and maritime patrol aircraft.

The relevance of our alliance is demonstrated by the part our countries are playing in the coalition that is countering the challenge of Daesh.  We have also stood together to try to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and Sudan.  And we have not shrunk from tackling daunting humanitarian tasks in countries such as Syria.

The number of pressing global matters is growing not diminishing. From climate change, to sustainable development, to ensuring the effectiveness of international institutions – the views of the United Kingdom and Norway are similar and often identical, as is our determination to act together to meet these challenges.

Our economic partnership is hugely valuable to both of us.  The UK is one of Norway’s most important export markets; and notably Norway is the UK’s most important energy supplier.  Norwegian oil, gas and renewable energy all keep British kettles boiling – and you can imagine how important that is to a nation of tea-drinkers.  I learned earlier today that you power 22 billion cups of tea each year in the UK!

In a range of other sectors, I am delighted to say that British companies are doing excellent business in Norway.  We want these economic ties to grow.

We both face environmental threats to our future success.  We are both maritime nations whose prosperity has been shaped by the sea.  We are now both thinking about how we protect our oceans from the terrible damage done by human pollution.

We share the same goals of de-carbonising our economies, building smarter cities, and being prepared to take full advantage of the next wave of technological developments.

Your Majesties, we are so pleased that our visit to Norway is allowing us to meet so many Norwegians who are thinking about our joint future.

Norway has been, and will continue to be, enormously important to Britain both as a friend and a partner.

Thousands of people cross the North Sea in each direction every year.  Friendship is the hallmark of what prompts them to make this journey.  Catherine and I are delighted that, now, we too have made that journey; we too have experienced the warmth of that friendship on this very special visit.

Your Majesties, thank you for your hospitality. We look forward to our two countries' friendship deepening even further in the years to come.

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