King of Norway Reigns on Facebook After Diversity Speech

Nicole Puglise and Jon Henley, The Guardian, September 7, 2016

A 79-year-old monarch is perhaps not the most likely person to deliver a rousing speech in support of refugees, religious tolerance, diversity and LGBT rights, and a royal garden party may not be the most likely place to hear it.

But an impassioned five-minute address on the need for inclusiveness and acceptance by Norway’s King Harald last week to 1,500 slightly startled–but ultimately delighted–guests in the park of the Royal Palace in Oslo has gone viral.

A spokeswoman, Marianne Hagen, said the palace had received a huge number of requests for an official English translation of the speech, which had received nearly 80,000 likes and been viewed more than 3m times on Facebook.

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Explicitly backing gay rights, the king, who will be 80 in February, said Norwegians were “girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other”. He also voiced support for religious diversity, saying Norwegians believed “in God, in Allah, in the universe–and in nothing”.

Calling on people to embrace “trust, solidarity and generosity”, he said the notion of home could not be confined within national borders. “It is not always easy to say where we are from, what nationality we are. Home is where our heart is.”

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