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A member of staff at Northumbria University tries to explain as two dignitaries leave the scene in protest.
The sense of confusion soon turned to ill disguised disappointment and anger as some of the invited guests left in disgust. One of the dignitaries who wanted to remain anonymous told our reporter: "Quite how the authorities expected us to just pretend that this is a new work is beyond me. My wife and I love art so we very pleased to be invited and we traveled a long way to be here but I'm afraid we'll be going home with a bitter taste in the mouth."
The dignitaries were left gobsmacked at the unveiling of the old sculpture but remained silent. Andy Packard's view of the Civic Centre image (right) clearly shows the same sculpture some six months earlier.
Once the curtain had been thoroughly brushed and the norwegian secret service had cleared the area of revellers and students the assembly of local dignitaries began and His Majesty arrived soon after to muted silence. After a short speech given by the Chancellor of Northumbria University, King Harald V cut the ribbon to unveil the work by the distinguished Norwegian sculptor Nicolaus Widerberg. There was a polite ripple of applause but the sense of confusion at seeing the old sculpture was obvious. To see a video of the moment click here.
On cue: Dignitaries emerged from a nearby building just before the King arrived.
Moved on: Our reporter got a little too close and was ushered away by a policeman.

Race against time: Staff desperately brush the last bits of dirt off the cloth as His Majesty approaches.

But it was a case of the emperor's new clothes at the unveiling as expectant dignitaries, who were hoping to see a new sculpture were left bitterly disappointed as King Harald V unveiled the same sculpture that has been on show for the past six months.

Open Council reporters arrived early for the unveiling to capture the preparations in full swing and gauge the public mood. One member said: "there is genuine excitement in the air, not just because the King is coming but to see the new sculpture as well."

Last minute preparations for His Majesty's gala dinner at the Civic Centre.
His Majesty's flying visit included a stop at Northumbria University to peruse the paintings at the Gallery and unveil a sculpture on the University grounds. The visit concluded with a trip to The Sage Gateshead for a business event organised by OneNorthEast and NOF Energy.
King Harald V gives the Open Council the eye.
King Harald V of Norway was in town this week to receive the freedom of the City of Newcastle on the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Civic Centre. His Majesty received the honor from the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Wood at a no holds barred gala dinner in his honor at the Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall.
King Harald V unveiling disapointment.