On Friday afternoon, I was pleased to join Councillor Suzanne Anton at a reception organized by Stein Gudmundseth, the Honorary Consul of Norway for Norwegian paralympic athletes. In attendance was the Princess of Norway, a very beautiful thirty something woman named Princess Marta Luisa.
Upon being introduced to her, I had to tell her my story. I once slept on her front lawn.
It was 1969 and my friend Eli Harari and I were touring Europe. Eli had taken our little NSU Prinz 30 up the Norwegian coast to visit the fjords, and worrying that the car wouldn't make it, I decided to stay in Oslo for a while on my own. Each night I would go to a bar or club to find someone who could provide me with a place to sleep; however, one night, I was unsuccessful.
After wandering around the city, eventually it was time to find a good place for my sleeping bag. I saw a large park, and decided to hop the decorative metal railing and went to sleep.
At about 4:30am I was awoken by a soldier in full military dress, pointing a rifle and bayonet at my neck. He said something in Norwegian but I didn't understand. I pulled out my British Passport and he then said, "You can't sleep here. This is the palace". He then escorted me off the grounds. As I left, I took a photo, to remind me of the event.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be telling this story 40 years later to a resident of the palace!
The Princess was very graceful and invited me to come back to Oslo in the summer. She said the Palace is open to the public and I can see inside. But she didn't invite me to sleep over.
Thank you Stein, Suzanne and Princess Marta for a wonderful opportunity to re-live a memorable episode from my past.