south portico

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HAPPY 79TH BIRTHDAY KING HARALD V (b. 21 February 1937)

Every person has a great power in themselves - that can carry us through what we encounter in life. - King Harald V about standing together

Prince Harald was born on 21 February 1937 as the only son of the then-Crown Prince Olav and of Princess Märtha of Sweden in Skaugum and was baptized in the Royal Chapel in the Royal Palace in Oslo on 31 March 1937 by Bishop Johan Lunde. His godparents were: King Haakon VII of Norway, Queen Maud of Norway, Prince Carl of Sweden, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, King Leopold III of Belgium; King George VI and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom and Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark. His parents already had two daughters, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid.

During World War II he fled with sisters and mother from Norway for the United States from Petsamo, Finland, aboard the United States Army transport ship American Legion. Harald and his mother and sisters lived in Washington, D.C., during the war, while his father, Crown Prince Olav, and his grandfather, King Haakon, stayed in London with the Norwegian government-in-exile. One of the notable events he remembers from that time is standing behind Franklin D. Roosevelt when he was sworn in for his fourth term on the South Portico of the White House in 1945. In 2015, he became the world’s first reigning monarch to visit Antarctica, specifically the Norwegian dependency Queen Maud Land.

In March 1968 it was announced the engagemement between the Crown Prince and Miss Sonja Haraldsen. The couple had known each other for nine years before their marriage was approved. The wedding was held in Oslo Cathedral on 29 August 1968. They have two children, Princess Märtha Louise (b. 22 September 1971) and Crown Prince Haakon b. 20 July 1973) and through them 6 grandchildren.

An avid sailor, Harald represented Norway in the yachting events of Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 and in Mexico City in 1968 and the Munich 1972. The Crown Prince carried the Norwegian flag at the opening parade of the 1964 Summer Olympics. In 1994, both the King and Crown Prince Haakon played roles during the opening ceremony of the Lillehammer Olympics. The King opened the games, while the Crown Prince lit the cauldron, paying tribute to both the King and his grandfather as Olympians. The King has also represented Norway at opening ceremonies of Olympic Games, among them Torino and Beijing.

Twice since the start of the twenty-first century King Harald was unable to perform his monarchical duties due to ill-health: in December 2003 to mid-April 2004 due to urinary bladder cancer, and in April to early June 2005 due to aortic stenosis.

I live by the principle that as long as not proven otherwise, I’m healthy and will live life that way.” - King Harald when asked about if he was not afraid of relapse of cancer.

Following a lengthy period of ill-health, his mother Crown Princess Märtha died of cancer in Oslo in 1954. Her death came little more than three years before her husband ascended the throne as king. His father, King Olav V, died on 17 January 1991 and Harald V succeeded him as the King of Norway.

Arrow Ficlet: Love Actually

This is all @andcreation‘s fault.  AU based on Love Actually, with Oliver as the President and Felicity as his babbling assistant.


Pulling up to the White House–to his new home–Oliver Queen, the forty-eighth president of the United States, tried to soothe his nerves.  But his thumb and forefinger kept rubbing together.  It was his one nervous tic, one he hadn’t been able to eradicate.  

“Nervous, sir?” asked John Diggle, the first Secret Service agent he had been assigned and the one he trusted the most.

“What do you think, Digg?”

A soft chuckle escaped the agent.  “You’re hiding it very well, sir.”  

Oliver couldn’t help huffing out a laugh as the car pulled in under the South Portico.  “Nice to see you lie about as well as you shoot.”  

“You wouldn’t want me to lie better than I shoot, would you?” Diggle asked before stepping out of the car.

When Oliver stepped out of the car, waving to the photographers, there was a smile on his face.  One that would be described as “the charming grin of Ameria’s new president, only the second bachelor to hold the highest office in the land.”

But then it was a whirl of introductions and that charming grin faded, as the duties and responsibilities piled onto his shoulders.  

Keep reading

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Day 19: Visits by Winston Churchill

“It is fun to be in the same decade with you.”
-Franklin Roosevelt to Winston Churchill, January 1942

The friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill formed the core of the Anglo-American alliance during World War II.

On September 11, 1939—ten days after Germany invaded Poland— FDR wrote a confidential letter to Churchill, who had just entered the British cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. Roosevelt wanted to open a direct line of communication with him. He encouraged Churchill to “keep me in touch personally with anything you want me to know about.”

FDR’s note was the start of an extraordinary six-year correspondence between the two men that totaled almost 2000 messages.

Between 1941 and 1945, they would also spend 113 days together, beginning with an August 1941 meeting in the North Atlantic and ending at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Churchill made visits to the United States in 1941, 1942, 1943 & 1944, including a trip to Washington, D.C. shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

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Are you going to the National Christmas Tree Lighting this year?

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, there was some doubt that the #NationalChristmasTree ceremony would take place at all.

The 1941 Christmas Tree had been planned to be the first-ever ceremony inside the White House grounds. By November, two oriental spruce trees (to be used in alternate years) had been transplanted from the White house tennis courts to either side of the South Lawn Fountain. All was in place for a “homey celebration,” as suggested by President Roosevelt at the 1940 ceremony.

But in the aftermath of December 7, 1941–despite the concerns of the Secret Service–the President sided with custom, tradition, and his promise. An estimated 20,000 people passed through the military inspection on Christmas Eve afternoon, with many checking their last-minute holiday purchases outside the East Gate.

All went well.

As seen in the photograph, President Roosevelt addressed the crowds from the White House South Portico on December 24, 1941. Churchill, who also spoke, can be seen on the right.

The historical 1941 tree, although out of the holiday spotlight, stills glows occasionally throughout the year. For nestled in its branches is a red light that, when lit, provides a directional landmark for the Presidential helicopter Marine One.

Image of FDR from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum; Photograph of a large crowd assembled on the South Lawn of the White House for the lighting of the National Community Christmas Tree., 12/24/1945; Address of the Prime Minister upon the occasion of the lighting of the National Community Christmas Tree at the White House, 12/24/1941.

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In November of 1963, the First Lady arranged for the Black Watch of the Royal Highlanders Regiment to perform on the South Lawn for local school children. The regiment was a favorite of President Kennedy who loved the playing of bagpipes. The First Family would watch the performance from the South Portico of the White House. This would be last time the First Family would appear in public. Twelve days later the Black Watch Regiment would return to perform at President Kennedy’s funeral.