King of Norway pays tribute to William and Kate at royal palace dinner

The King of Norway has told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge he hopes the UK and his nation can maintain their close ties when Britain leaves the European Union.

Speaking at an Oslo dinner staged in honour of William and Kate, King Harald also paid an affectionate tribute to the visiting royals describing them as "family" and praising the way their carried out their duties and supported the Queen.

William also celebrated the relationship between the UK and the Nordic nation in his address at the royal palace dinner saying: "Norway has been, and will continue to be, enormously important to Britain both as a friend and a partner."

The Norwegian sovereign processed into the banquet arm in arm with the pregnant duchess, who wore a stunning Alexander McQueen gown, and their close gesture was mirrored by his wife Queen Sonja and William who walked behind them.

King Harald V of Norway makes a speech at a dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal Palace, Oslo, (Chris Jackson/PA)
King Harald V of Norway makes a speech at the dinner in Oslo (Chris Jackson/PA)

Harald spoke first and described how the UK was the number one study destination for Norwegians who returned with a positive impression of their time away, strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

He said: "I hope we will be able to maintain our close and extensive co-operation when the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union (EU)."

Norway is not a member of the EU but is closely associated through its membership of the European Economic Area.

William and Kate, like other senior royals, have undertaken a series of Europe focused overseas visits during 2017 - which have been dubbed Brexit diplomacy visits - and seen as attempt to strengthen ties and bolster relationships with European states as the UK leaves the EU.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with (left to right) Princess Martha Louise of Norway, Harald V of Norway, Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway and Princess Astrid of Norway (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with (left to right) Princess Martha Louise, Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette Marit and Princess Astrid (Chris Jackson/PA)

The King added: "Dear William, dear Kate, I admire the way you carry out your duties and the way you support he majesty Queen Elizabeth.

"The Queen and I know from our own experience how valuable it is to work together with the younger generation and how important it is to support one another on this rather unusual profession of ours."

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