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Swedish King snubs Norway bicentenary

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Swedish King snubs Norway bicentenary
Carl XVI Gustag gives his New Year's Speech last week. Screengrab: SVT
15:16 CET+01:00
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav has ruffled feathers in neighbouring Norway by declining an invitation to attend the 200th anniversary of Norway's constitution on May 17th.
National Day, on May 17th, is arguably the most important day of the year for Norwegians, with marches and flag-waving taking place across the nation to commemorate the signing of country's first constitution. 
 
But while Denmark's Queen Margrethe has announced that she will be attending the bicentenary event in Eidsvoll, where the constitution was signed, Sweden's King is not attending. 
 
"Since this is such an important national event and means a good deal to the Norwegians, I think that the Swedish King and Queen ought to be present," Karsten Alnæs, a prominent Norwegian historian, told The Local. "It would make the occasion even more solemn and it would contribute to the good relations between our two countries." 
 
Sten Hedman, a veteran Swedish court reporter, rued the King's decision, calling it "ahistorical". 
 
"We are a sister nation so we should also celebrate the fact that Norway got a constitution," he told NRK. "This is the anniversary, and it will be over 100 years until the next time we get this opportunity." 
 
He speculated that if Norway's King Harald V issued a personal invitation, King Carl Gustav would be more likely to attend.
 
Norway's constitution was signed in May 1814 after Norway, rather than accept the deal between Britain, Sweden and Denmark  to transfer rule from Denmark to Sweden at the Treaty of Kiel, instead declared independence. 
 
Sweden's then Crown Prince Carl Johan marched on Norway, but after failing to secure an outright victory, agreed to accept the constitution, in return for which he was crowned King of Norway. 
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