|Sir Nils Olav|
Sir Nils Olav
|Born||Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland|
|Years of service||1972 – current|
|Rank||Colonel-in-Chief & mascot|
|Unit||Hans Majestet Kongens Garde|
Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav is a King Penguin living in Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. He is the mascot and Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Royal Guard. Nils was visited by soldiers from the Norwegian Royal Guard on 15 August 2008 and awarded a knighthood. 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". The name 'Nils Olav' has also been given to two other King Penguins who preceded the current Nils Olav as the King's Guard's mascot.
Role in the military 
When the Norwegian King's Guard visited the Edinburgh Military Tattoo of 1961 for a drill display, a lieutenant called Nils Egelien became interested in Edinburgh Zoo's penguin colony. When the Guards once again returned to Edinburgh in 1972, he arranged for the unit to adopt a penguin. This penguin was named Nils Olav in honour of Nils Egelien, and King Olav V of Norway.
Nils Olav was given the rank of visekorporal (lance corporal) and has been promoted each time the King's Guard has returned to the tattoo. In 1982 he was made corporal, and promoted to sergeant in 1987. Nils Olav died shortly after his promotion to sergeant, and his place of honour was taken by Nils Olav II, his two-year-old near-double. He was promoted in 1993 to the rank of regimental sergeant major. On 18 August 2005, he was promoted to Colonel-in-Chief and on 15 August 2008 he was awarded a knighthood. He is the first penguin to receive such an honour in the Norwegian army. At the same time a 4-foot-high (1.2 m) bronze statue of Nils Olav was presented to Edinburgh Zoo. The statue's inscription recognises the King's Guard and the Military Tattoo. A statue also stands at the Royal Norwegian Guard compound at Huseby, Oslo.
Norway presented the zoo with its first king penguin in 1913, the year of its opening.
In Norway he is consistently referred to only as the mascot of the King's Guard, although the plaque on his statue and the website of the Norwegian Government's Consulate in Edinburgh, refer to his promotion to Colonel-in-Chief.
See also 
- "King penguin receives Norwegian knighthood". 15 August 2008. MSNBC. Retrieved 13 June 2010. (Archived on 13 June 2010)
- "Military penguin becomes a 'Sir'". BBC News. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Norwegian Knight". Scandinavian Press 15 (4). Fall 2008. p. 9.
- The Edinburgh Military Tattoo Programme 1961
- Norwegian Consulate in Edinburgh.
- "Penguin power: Norwegian regiment honours pint-sized chief". ABC News (Sydney). 16 August 2008.
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