OSLO, Norway -- Thousands of Norwegians, official guests and the royal houses of Europe arrived Wednesday to pay their last respects to Norway's King Olav V in a funeral service to mark the passing of the world's oldest monarch.
The event was to bring together the largest gathering of VIP's since the start of the gulf war and security in the Norwegian capital was tight, with anti-terrorist units discreetly positioned in and around Oslo and airports.
Among those scheduled to attend were monarchs from Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Spain; crown princes from Britain and Japan; presidents from Yugoslavia, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Finland; and vice-presidents from the United States and the Soviet Union.
But despite a call to attack western targets by Iraq's embattled president, Saddam Hussein, Norwegian police had by Wednesday morning received no threats.
Nonetheless security forces were taking no chances. Three thousand troops were to police routes around the capital and many guests were to arrive in Oslo and depart again within hours of the funeral.
Vice President Dan Quayle was not to take part in the cortege through Oslo's streets to Olav's final resting place at Akershus Castle.
Olav V, died peacefully at the age of 87 two weeks ago after a short illness.
A great-grandson of Britain's Queen Victoria, Olav was born at Sandringham in Britain July 2, 1903. His father was the younger son of Denmark's later King Christian X and his mother, Princess Maud, was the daughter of King Edward VII of Britain.
He ascended the throne of Norway in September 1957 after the death of his father, King Haakon VII, a Danish prince who was invited to create a separate Norwegian monarchy when Norway and Sweden dissolved their union in 1905.
An avid sportsman endearingly called the 'sailing sovereign', Olav won a gold medal for his prowess as a yachtsman in a six-meter boat in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
He was an official yachting umpire during several Olympic games, an experienced skier and an accomplished swordsman.
As Crown Prince, he and his family escaped the clutches of invading and advancing Nazis, hiding in barns and fields for two months before eventually traveling to Britain with King Haakon.
Crown Princess Martha, Olav's Swedish-born wife, died in 1954 prior to her husband ascending the throne.
Olav was immediately on his death succeeded to the throne of Norway by his son and daughter-in-law King Harald and Queen Sonia in an unpretentious parliamentary ceremony in which the new king simply declared he would uphold the national constitution.