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A traditional gift from Norway

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The tree still represents the ongoing struggle for freedom
Credit: PJ Photography Shutterstock

When Norway was occupied by the Nazis, the Royal Family split up with Crown Princess Märtha and her three children fleeing to neutral Sweden.

King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav made their way to the UK and spent the war years there, figureheads for the Norwegian Resistance, even though the Nazis made the Norwegian Parliament depose the king.

Have you visited Trafalgar Square to see the tree?

When the war ended, the Royal Family were welcomed back to Norway and in 1947, in recognition of the support that Britain had given and as a sign of permanent friendship King Haakon decreed that each year, Norway would send a giant Christmas tree to London.

Every November a Norwegian Spruce, measuring around 20 metres which had been growing for 50 to 60 years is cut down at a special ceremony in Nordmarka outside of Oslo which is attended by the British Ambassador to Norway, Mayor of Oslo, and Lord Mayor of Westminster.

It is then shipped to the UK and erected in Trafalgar Square, covered with decorations and 500 lights and is a major attraction to those living in or visiting London when it is officially inaugurated on the first Thursday of December.

A symbol of thanks from Norway to Britain

At the base of the tree which remain is place until January 6, is a plaque which states “This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.”

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