Arise ‘Sir Nils’

Nils Olav, Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian army, has been knighted at a ceremony held in Edinburgh. Quite an honour…..for a penguin!!

Nils Olav is a King Penguin at Edinburgh zoo and was adopted by the Norwegian Royal Guard in 1972 as a mascot. Through the years, Nils has risen through the ranks, becoming Colonel-in-Chief of the elite Royal Guard in 2005. He also has several medals for long service.

The knighthood ceremony began Friday morning with speeches and a fanfare before Nils arrived, under escort with the King’s Guard Colour Detachment. Nils then reviewed the troops, waddling down the row of uniformed soldiers.

Nils was then knighted by British Major-General Euan Loudon on behalf of Norway’s King Harald V. Loudon dubbed the king’s sword on both sides of Nils’s frame where his shoulders would have been if he actually had any, and the penguin’s Colonel-in-Chief badge, tied to his flipper, was swapped for one symbolizing his knighthood.

However, the penguin honoured on Friday is unfortunately not the original Nils Olav. He died in the 1980s. He is, in fact, the third Nils Olav, inheriting the name from his predecessor.

Norway, incidentally, presented the zoo with its first king penguin in 1913, the year of its opening.

It’s a strange world. But then again, if Willy Wales can become Commander-in Chief then why not. Maybe we need to check to see who is in charge of the American Army in Iraq, might explain a few things!

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