Princess Astrid of Norway lit the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, London, on Thursday evening.

The tree is an annual gift to the city of London from Oslo, and Astrid, King Harald’s older sister, was the guest of honour, with the job of turning on the lights.

Princess Astrid, centre, at the lighting ceremony. Getty

Princess Astrid, centre, at the lighting ceremony. Getty

A tradition beginning in 1947, this is the 69th year of the ceremony. The tree is to thank the city for assistance to Norway during the Second World War.

Astrid, 83, pressed the button turn on the 500 lights decorating the towering tree in London’s Trafalgar Square, marking the beginning of the festivities in the area.

The Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, joined the Princess, Lord Mayor of Westminster, and former Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, for the ceremony, where hundreds of people gathered.

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Christmas songs, carols and music accompanied the ceremony to light the Norweigan tree, which was felled near Ødegården farm in the Østmarka forest, Oslo, in mid-November.

An inscription at the base of the tree reads: ‘This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.’

Mayor Marianne Borgen took part in the felling of the tree. The British Ambassador to Norway and pupils from Nøklevann school and Oslo International School also attended the ceremony.

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