Oslo’s Christmas tree gift to Trafalgar Square
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
A Norwegian spruce, the City of Oslo’s traditional gift to the UK, was cut down in the forest by the Mayor of Oslo and Lord Mayor of Westminster.
Children from Oslo International School and Norwegian primary school Ammerud skole gathered in Oslo’s north eastern forest on Wednesday 19 November to sing carols as they witnessed the felling of this year’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.
Oslo has sent a tree to the London every year since 1947 as token of gratitude, celebration and commemoration of Britain’s support during the war when the Norwegian government and royal family lived in exile in London from 1940 to 1945 during Norway’s occupation. The annual gift of a Christmas tree has come to symbolise the deep and long-lasting friendship between Norway and the United Kingdom.
The Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang invited the Lord Mayor of Westminster Councillor Audrey Lewis and the British Ambassador Sarah Gillett to this year’s tree-felling ceremony, which took place in Oslo’s certified sustainable forest at Lillomarka in Grodruddalen. The 21-metre tall tree, which weighs about four tonnes and is over fifty years old, is now on its way to London by road and sea. “The Queen of the Forest” as she is affectionately known by the forestry workers who groom a number of spruce trees over a period of years, was selected from a shortlist of particularly fine trees just a few weeks ago.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster was accompanied by her official consorts for civic duties, step daughter Victoria Lewis, an actress, and step granddaughter Frances Gladwin, a recent graduate in Criminology. Channel 4’s Kirstie Allsop brought her TV crew to include the cutting of the tree in her programme “Kirstie’s Christmas Show”. The felling ceremony was also attended by Norwegian forest hikers association, the Anglo Norse Society, and representatives of Oslo City Council’s environment section.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster said, “For many Londoners, the tree going up in Trafalgar Square symbolises the real beginning of the Christmas season and it is one of the first things we think about if you mention Norway any time in the year. It is such a special symbol of the close friendship between our countries and it is a privilege to be invited to take part in the felling ceremony. We thank Mayor Fabian Stang and all the people of Oslo sincerely for this generous and much appreciated gift.”
The Norwegian Christmas tree will be lit with energy-efficient tree lights in Trafalgar Square on Thursday 4 December at 6pm.