Most Londoners know that our friends in Norway present us with our famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree each year, but it’s not just Scandi generosity: there’s a pretty dramatic backstory.
When Norway was invaded by the Nazis in 1940, King Haakon VII fled to London, where he was granted refuge and allowed to form a government in exile (sometimes referred to as the ‘London Cabinet’). Norway’s resistance movement was masterminded from Prince’s Gate in South Kensington, and to thank us for our hospitality, Oslo has sent us a fine spruce every year since 1947.
Sarah Gillett, the British ambassador to Norway, attended this year’s tree felling ceremony and told Time Out that the tree ‘has become so much more than a token of gratitude: it’s a symbol of the enduring friendship between Norway and Britain’. Really, it’s heartwarming enough to make you forget about this year’s truly crap lights.
And while we’re at it: why does London not have skyscrapers?