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The Norwegian Royal Guard has been dissolved until the autumn, it was announced this week. Known as Hans Majestet Kongens Garde in Norway, the guard is a battalion of the Norwegian Army.
The battalion has two main roles; it serves as the Norwegian King’s bodyguards, guarding the royal residences and Akershus Fortress in Oslo, and is also the main infantry unit responsible for the defence of the capital.
It was first established in 1856 to protect King Oscar I.
Since 1888 the King’s Guard has been on duty at the Royal Palace and other Royal residences 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Similar to the British Royal Family, the guard takes part in ceremonial duties, such as the daily changing of the guard.
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Lieutenant Colonel and Head of Communications in the Army, Per Espen Strande, confirmed the dissolving in a statement: “These are many well-trained soldiers who are now being redeployed.
“Now they fill a need that the defence has somewhere else.
“The reason for the redeployment is that the corona situation has led to several of the events that the company should actually attend being cancelled”.
The Norwegian Royal family have already been dealt a blow earlier this year, when the country’s constitution day parade was cancelled, unsurprisingly due to coronavirus.
In normal circumstances, celebrations for Constitution Day are huge, with crowds gathering for parties and parades.
It celebrates the country’s independence from Sweden, which took place almost 200 years ago.
More than 100,000 of Norway’s children would usually march past the royal palace to greet King Harald V and the Royal Family who stand on the balcony of the palace.
Norwegians would dress in traditional costumes, known as bunad, or in the national colours, which are red, white and blue.
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This year was the first year since World War II that the national event did not take place.
King Harald has reigned since 1991, and its the 64th monarch of the Scandinavian country.
He has been married to Queen Sonja since 1968, and they have two children together, Prince Haakon and Princess Martha Louise.
Norway has been successful in managing its coronavirus outbreak, with only 237 deaths so far, with many lockdown regulations eased.
The Scandinavian country was put into lockdown when a small number of cases was present, saving many lives.
An expert committee concluded last Friday that the country should avoid lockdown if there is a second wave of infections.
On Friday, there were just 30 people in hospital with coronavirus and five on a ventilator.
Only one person had died all week.
The per capita death toll is now 44 per million people, just over a tenth of that seen in neighbouring Sweden, where 4,971 people have died.
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