Meet the Penguin Knighted by the Norwegian Army

You Ask Why, I Ask Why Not?

And now for something completely different… I’ve just learned that the Norwegian King and Royal Guard have a great sense of humor. Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav II is a King Penguin (there’s definitely a royal connection there) living in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. In the summer of 2008, soldiers from the Norwegian Royal Guard visited him at the zoo. While the story doesn’t say, I’ll guess that some fine single-malt Scotch was involved, because the next thing that happened is that the soldiers awarded the penguin a knighthood.

(Editor’s Note: The first Nils Olav was also a King Penguin in Edinburgh, who was given the rank of lance corporal in 1972, and was given a promotion every time the King’s Guard returned to visit him, ultimately rising to the rank of sergeant. He passed away in 1987, and was succeeded by Nils Olav II.)

It could all have stopped there and been a funny story to tell, but it went much further. The honour was approved by the king of Norway, King Harald V. During the ceremony, a crowd of several hundred people joined the 130 guardsmen at the zoo to hear a citation from King Harald the Fifth of Norway read out, which described Nils as a penguin “in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood.”

Kudos to Norway for making the world a more interesting place, and honoring this noble penguin!

A funny/apt comment from Reddit: “Norway should be outraged that Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav is being held prisoner in a detention facility on foreign soil.”

(Via Reddit)

Photos Credit: Lee Carson on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons & Erik Swanson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



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By Michael Graham Richard, TreeHugger


Val M.
Val M.3 years ago


Nickihermes Celine
Past Member 3 years ago

thank you for sharing 17/7

Victoria S.
Victoria S.4 years ago

And why shouldn't he be knighted. lol

James Hager
James Hager4 years ago

gotta love peguins!...the official mascot of Linux ;)
thanks for the article!

janet f.
janet f.4 years ago

Those guys at Reddit are funny.

Carrie Anne Brown

haha thanks for sharing :)

Susan A.
Susan A.4 years ago

The last comment after post is great! "“Norway should be outraged that Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav is being held prisoner in a detention facility on foreign soil.” ;-)

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson4 years ago

Knighthood becomes him!

John S.
Past Member 4 years ago


ANA MARIJA R.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.