Friday, August 15, 2008

Sir Penguin

Nils Olav II inspecting the troops - Edinburgh Zoo

When I visited Edinburgh Zoo in June I had no idea I was in the presence of a famous and high ranking military King Penguin called Nils Olav II. Nils (to his friends) was knighted on 15th August having previously carried the rank of colonel-in-chief. Nils has been promoted each time the Norwegian Kings Guard visit the zoo when they attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Nils is the first penguin to be Knighted which is approved by the King himself. A video of the ceremony which was held at Edinburgh zoo can be seen *here*.

This all came about when a lieutenant called Nils Egelien became interested in Edinburgh Zoo's penguin colony when he attended the Tattoo in 1961. When the Guards once again returned to Edinburgh in 1972, he arranged for the unit to adopt a penguin which was named Nils Olav in honour of Nils Egelien and King Olav V of Norway. The new recruit was given the rank of lance corporal and has been promoted each time the King's Guard has returned to the Tattoo. The original Nils Olav died shortly after his promotion to sergeant, and his place of honour was taken by Nils Olav II. You can hear more about Nils and this bizarre but endearing relationship as a mascot for the Norwegian Kings Guard *here* which is a broadcast from the BBC Today Programme.

The photo above is a picture I took of the King penguins when I visited the zoo. The penguins are let out of their pen every day for a voluntary walk which is a huge attraction. I have no idea if one of them is Nils or not but they all had a military bearing, walking regally along the path taking in the admiration of the crowds. Well, they are King penguins after all!

I will announce the winner of the 'Whose Bedroom' competition soon :)

22 comments:

pink dogwood said...

This is so cool, I have never seen a penguin before. I never knew they had a bit of orange on them. Great post and great pictures as usual.

Linda said...

Such beautiful penguins! The first picture truly looks like the penguin inspecting the troops!

Oh, and thank you for the postcard, it was lovely!

craziequeen said...

I love penguins - they are so cool :-)

And come in all different shapes and sizes...
I love the way they walk - it makes my smile to think of it.

cq

Shephard said...

Omg, that's great. lol
~S

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I want to say that's so absurd, it's stupid, but you know what? It's so silly, it's actually quite cool.

Awesome story, my friend!

Nepharia said...

Oh so pretty -- I love their colors. :D

Melody said...

Oh those penguins are magnificent. I remember being in awe when I saw them - I simply couldn't believe the size of them...

R. Sherman said...

Marvelous.

I love penguins and our local Zoo has a great exhibit which is my favorite place -- next to the snakes, of course.

Cheers.

BlueJeans Gal said...

What a fascinating story! Penguins are indeed regal and that first pic is...well, a picture is worth a thousand words... :)
Hello from Michele!

Teena in Toronto said...

Ha! Great shots!

Nikki-ann said...

I love penguins! They're beautiful :)

Linda said...

coming back to comment again and tell you that it was quite a coincidence that last night, on our NBC Nightly News, there was a story about Nils Olav II and his promotion! When you actually see him walking down, you realize just how BIG he truly is! Thought I'd let you know that I could actually tell my hubby the story, about why/how he was II and that I'd heard the story from you before!

rashbre said...

I saw the ceremnoy on television. It was great. the particular penguin ws also being talked about on R4 in the morning. Its penguin breeding season at the moment our hero has a phantom egg and has been staying over in the corner of the enclosure where all of the penguins with eggs go.

But the penguin also knows the drums and general razzmatazz of the soldier ceremony and is known to hurry forward to check on his troops.

Truly amazing. And very high ranking nowadays!

Lovely photos of the penguins, by the way!

Oh - and checkout this :-)

Dianne said...

I saw the ceremony on TV too! I loved how Nils wasn't too keen on the sword part, he kept bobbing and weaving but boy did he enjoy reviewing the troops.

I adore penguins.

Nepharia said...

Oh, please do not forget to update the links to my site: http://nepharia.com/blog/ . Thank you!

oranginadreams said...

That is so neat! I love how they get a voluntary walk. :)

Leslie

Mar said...

They are so cute. Wish I could meet them on one of those voluntary walks, never heard of that in a zoo!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I LOVE Penguins...! (As you know...) He is sooo very very cute! As are they all.

I cannot see the videos because my computer keeps telling me I need the "laterst version of Adobe Flash Player"....I keep downloading it and being told it is installed...All good news---ONLY, but it ISN'T, because I continue to get THAT Message....This has been going on for weeks now...UGH, UGH, UGH...Deeply Frustrating!

craziequeen said...

PS!
I haven't looked at the answers on the post - but am I right in thinking that's the Queen's bedroom on Britannia?

cq

kenju said...

I love that they do that!!

Kerri said...

Wow...they are gorgeous! I would certainly curtsy for them :)

Smiler said...

I have to say that sort of penguin seems perfectly suites for the job what with the regal bearing and all. Lovely pics.