A sideways view: But there was more to watch for than just smiling men, shaking hands in suits.
At the ONS exhibition and conference in Stavanger on Tuesday morning, the 75 year old Norwegian King, setting an electric pace around the halls, was close enough to touch as he walked around the exhibition, literally brushing shoulders with the surprised delegates and exhibitors as he went.
Joking with the king
The contrast with the walk of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, around the Gulf IT Exhibition, in the UAE, could hardly be starker. There security guards pursue terrified people into crowds just so they can push them further away from the approaching monarch.
Here people gathered, chatting and joking with the king as if they were old drinking pals.
But the monarch dwelled longer on some stands than others and joked harder with some exhibitors.
In classic royal blue pinstripe suit, with golden tie, King Harald, inevitably began his tour on the Statoil stand, where he spoke at length with chief executive Helge Lund. But the award for the longest chat goes to Peter Voser the chief executive of Shell.
As the King and Mr Voser circledaFloating LNG plant,Alfred Nordgård, OLF special adviserinternational relations, said maybe it was because Shell had some bettertoys.That’s impressive because the Statoil stand looks like a coolerversion of the Starship Enterprise.
Eight-piece string orchestra
However, Voser did not have it all his own way. The king certainly seemed interested in what the delighted looking Dutch executive had to say, but he didn’t laugh at any jokes.
The prize here goes to the group of executives in the Stream pavilion who laughed along with the king like schoolboys telling mucky jokes at lunchtime.
As impressed as the king obviously was by the chuckling Stream boys, the most elaborate attempt to impress award goes to e-ON whose bosses had assembled an eight-piece string orchestra to serenade the king as he passed by.
However, the most coveted prize is for the person least awed by his meeting with royalty. This one goes to the unnamed Scottish chap on the Balmoral stand, who was so comfortable chatting with the monarch that he didn’t even bother to remove the red pen he'd tucked into the top pocket of his white shirt, before the king arrived. Front page — click here!