Who Is the Most Decorated Military Penguin?


Sir Nils Olav, a king penguin, was knighted in 2008 and is the official mascot and honorary Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Royal Guard. He lives in Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo, and members of the Guard usually visit the penguin when they have military duties in Scotland.

Sir Nils became the Royal Guard’s mascot in 1972 when Lieutenant Nils Egelien arranged for the Guard to adopt one of the zoo’s penguins. Sir Nils Olav is named after Lieutenant Egelien and Norway’s King Olav V. Since joining the Guard, Sir Nils has risen through the ranks, first becoming a corporal in 1982 and receiving the title of Colonel-in-Chief in 2005.

In August 2008, Sir Nils was knighted in a ceremony attended by several hundred people, over 100 guardsmen and possibly some of his zoo friends. King Harald V of Norway approved the animal’s knighthood, which Sir Nils received as a result of his good conduct and outstanding service.