Date:  15 August 2008 10:00 - 12 August 2008 23:00
Location: Edinburgh

Norwegian King's Guard visits the penguin Nils Olav

Nils Olav, Edinburgh Zoo’s famous king penguin, will be visited by the Norwegian King’s Guard on Friday 15 August.

The Guardsmen visit Nils every few years while they are in the city performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Over the years, they have promoted Nils through the ranks and he is currently ranked ‘Colonel-in Chief’. There will be a ceremony for Nils on Friday at the Zoo and there have been rumours of yet another promotion but it is not known what honour will be bestowed on this very special penguin.

Nils Olav became an honorary member of the Norwegian Royal Guard in 1972, after a young lieutenant called Nils Egelien first visited the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo. Since that time he has received various accolades for long service and good conduct including medals and a 4ft bronze statue. It is believed that his latest promotion had to be approved by the King of Norway, King Harald V, so expectations are high!

David Windmill, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the charity that owns Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We have a long-standing history with the Norwegian King’s Guard and it is something we are extremely proud of. It’s an honour that they take the time to visit us and we are all looking forward to welcoming them on Friday. Edinburgh Zoo is famous for its king penguins and Nils Olav is definitely the most famous of them all.”

Darren McGarry, Animal Collection Manager at Edinburgh Zoo, added: “Nils always recognises the Norwegian Guardsmen when they come to visit him. They came in recently and he immediately walked towards the gate, we had to tell him that the ceremony was happening at a later date! He loves the attention he receives at the ceremony and takes his time inspecting the troops. We’re all very excited about his new promotion and we’ve all been wondering what it could be.”

Norwegian King’s Guardsman, Captain Rune Wiik said: “We are extremely proud of Nils Olav and pleased that an enduring part of the Royal Guard is resident in Scotland helping to further strengthen ties between our two countries.”
11am - Welcome Ceremony
Music by HM The King’s Guard Band and a Selected Pipe Bands from the Tattoo
Speeches by members of the Norwegian Royal Guard Association and Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

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