Sir Nils Olav III was visited by Norwegian soldiers who are performing at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the ceremony.
A famous king penguin was given a guard of honour as it was promoted to a new rank at a ceremony attended by 160 uniformed soldiers.
Sir Nils Olav III, which lives at Penguins Rock at Edinburgh Zoo, is the official mascot of His Majesty the King’s Guard of Norway and receives ceremonial visits.
In 1972, a king penguin at the zoo was adopted and named after Major Nils Egelien, who organised it, and King Olav of Norway who was on the throne at the time.
It became tradition that the king’s guard band and drill team of Norway would visit the mascot when they performed at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
This month, Sir Nils Olav was promoted to the rank of major general for “setting a superb example for the rest of the penguins”.
Sir Nils Olav worked his way up from mascot, becoming a corporal in 1982; sergeant in 1987; regimental sergeant major in 1993; honourable regimental sergeant major in 2001, and colonel-in-chief in 2005.
He received a knighthood in 2008, and became a brigadier in 2016, and inspected visiting soldiers.
The bird now has the title of Major General Sir Nils Olav III, Baron of the Bouvet Islands and official mascot of His Majesty the King’s Guard of Norway – which was celebrated with a military spectacle.
Norwegian soldiers send fish and Christmas cards each year, and visit when they are in Edinburgh.
A special ceremony was held to award Sir Nils his new title at Penguins Rock, attended by more than 160 uniformed guardsmen who are taking part in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Staff Sergeant Fredrik Gresseth, from the kjng’s guard band and drill team of Norway, said: “Sir Nils Olav is the mascot of his majesty the king’s guard and was adopted during one of the band and drill team’s participation at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
“The tradition of sending Nils Olav and his family fish, Christmas cards and visiting him during the unit’s participation at the tattoo have been an important part of the battalion’s history.
“His promotion this August, for good conduct and for being a superb example for the rest of the penguins at the Edinburgh Zoo, is a milestone in his career as mascot for the guard.
“The guardsmen of the drill team look forward to this rare occasion of being inspected by their own mascot, while the band will set the atmosphere worthy of a knighted king penguin.”
David Field, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We are honoured to host his majesty the king’s guard band and drill team of Norway once again as they return to Edinburgh Zoo to bestow this prestigious new title upon our king penguin, Sir Nils Olav.
“It is a very proud moment and represents the ongoing close collaboration between our two countries, Scotland and Norway.”
Jason Barrett, chief operating officer at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “His majesty’s kings guard of Norway bring a rich history, honour, and tradition to our cast and have been a fan favourite for years.
“Having acts like the Kings Guard showcases the cross-cultural component found within the tattoo.
“On behalf of the entire cast and crew, I am delighted to congratulate Sir Nils Olav III on his promotion to major general.”