His Majesty the King’s Guard to visit Washington, D.C.

in Canada in 2007. Photo: Sam Garcia.

His Majesty the King's Guard (HMKG) Band in Canada 2007. Photo: Sam Garcia. Courtesy of The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa.

His Majesty the King’s Guard (HMKG) Band is coming to Washington, D.C. in early May. Several of their performances are open to the public.

HMKG is the military guard charged with ensuring the safety of the Norwegian Royal Family in times of peace, crisis and war. HMKG is organised as a four-company infantry battalion, with two rifle companies, one escort company and a headquarter company based at Huseby, Oslo. After three months of basic training near Elverum, the aspiring King’s Guards are transferred to Huseby, where they spend their initial five weeks in intensive drill practice, hand-to-hand combat, physical exercise, close range firing and case-solving exercises in order to qualify as a full member of HMKG. A new band and drill platoon is recruited to the King’s Guard each year, with the best available musicians arriving from Norway’s huge number of school bands. The Guard’s dark blue dress uniforms have remained virtually unchanged throughout the regiment’s 142 years of existence.

A little history

HMKG was founded in 1856, when King Oscar I decided to establish a Royal Norwegian guard to underline his position as monarch of both Sweden and Norway. A company of a 100 Norwegians were recruited and trained during the summer of 1856, arriving in Stockholm on Nov. 1- the date on which the regiment’s formation is commemorated each year. The company was transferred to Kristiania (now Oslo) toward the end of the union between Sweden and Norway. Since 1888 the King’s Guard has been on duty at the Royal Palace and other Royal residences 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In 1940, during the German invasion of Norway, a company of the King’s Guard prevented German paratroopers from capturing the royal family and members of the cabinet. This gave the King’s Guard its first taste of glory in battle. Later in the campaign, the Guard fought with distinction at Lundehøgda, near Lillehammer, earning the nickname “The Black Devils” from their German opponents. When the royal family returned from England at the end of the war, the regiment resumed its non-combative guard and ceremonial duties in Oslo.

Performances in DC and Virginia

• May 5, 12:00 pm at U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. Concert and drill by His Majesty the King’s Guard at the U.S. Navy MemorialUS Navy Memorial.

• May 5, 6:00 pm at Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Memorial Circle, The National Mall, SW, Washington, D.C. 20037. His Majesty the King’s Guard in joint concert with U.S. Army Concert Band (Perhings Own) at the Lincoln Memorial.

• May 6, 7:00 pm at Fort McNair, 4th and P street, SW, near the Waterfront/ Marina. The Band of His Majesty the King’s Guard will participate in the Twilight Tattoo at Fort McNair. (Early arrival is advised.)

• May 8, 14:15 pm at Arlington Cemetery, Tomb of the unknown soldier. His Majesty the King’s Guard will be at Arlington Cemetery to lay down a wreath at the Tomb of the unknown soldier.

Source: Mil.no.

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