26 OCTOBER 2005

Click here to send this news item to a friend Members of the Norwegian Royal family made an appropriately regal entrance when they paid a visit to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit were greeted by the Queen and Prince Philip as they arrived in a gilded horse-drawn carriage. King Harald and Queen Sonja were also in attendance for a lavish banquet thrown in their honour. And the British royals weren't the only ones who turned out to offer a heartfelt welcome, as thousands of well-wishers lined the Mall, cheering enthusiastically and waving Norwegian and British flags, as the family made their way up to the gates of the palace.

It was Mette-Marit who stole the show, however. The 32-year-old princess, who is expecting her second child with Haakon next month, was looking radiant in a simple black dress and powder-blue coat. She and her husband are on a three-day trip to the UK as part of the festivities to mark the centenary of their home country's independence from Sweden.

The crown princess will also be paying a visit to top celebrity hang-out The Groucho Club, where she and her mother-in-law are to launch a new anthology of Norwegian writers, before hosting the Queen and Prince Philip aboard their yacht The Norge.

A special bond exists between the royal households of Britain and Norway as the Queen and King Harald are second cousins. The UK was also one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Norway after it became a separate nation state all those years ago.

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Pregnant Crown Princess Mette-Marit, along with the other leading royals, was sporting full ceremonial dress for a gala dinner with the QueenPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
Haakon and his wife speak to the press in the Marble Hall at Buckingham PalacePhoto: © Empics
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