King Harald and Queen Sonja together on the throne for a quarter of a century.

Text: Maria Vang Ormhaug. Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs, det kongelige hoff

January 17 marked 25 years since King Olav passed away, and Norway got a new King and Queen. Barely two hours after he had lost his father, Harald impressed the people of Norway by delivering his first speech to the people – as King. Since then he has held the New Year’s speech every year, which is treasured by the people of Norway.

The commemoration of the King and Queen has been celebrated with many events, starting with winter games for children and a gala concert each January 17th in Oslo. Norwegians Worldwide was represented at the events in 2016, with our Secretary General Hanne K. Aaberg attending the opening celebrations. During the summer our President Inger E. Prebensen joined the festivities in Trondheim, and in September the educational leader at Norgesskolen Sara Hatab attended the garden party in the Palace Park.

party-in-the-parkPhoto: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff

All for Norway
King Harald (78) and Queen Sonja (78) are working and traveling as much as ever, and seems to truly live by the Royal motto alt for Norge (all for Norway). They are both very sporty, and the King is an active sailor, while the Queen enjoys skiing and hiking.

The Queen has for many years nurtured a very strong interest in art. In recent years, she has also become an artist herself, trained by and collaborating with some of Norway’s most talented artists including the late Kjell Nupen as well as a recent collaboration with Magne Furuholmen.

Romantic Beginning
The Norwegian broadcasting channel NRK has shown a TV series featuring the Royal couple, openly discussing the obstacles they faced at the beginning of their relationship. It was not easy, as they had to hide their relationship for nine years until they could reveal it to the public. But they endured, and finally got each other in marriage, August 29 in the cathedral of Oslo.

When Crown Prince Haakon of Norway met his Mette-Marit, it was quite the controversy at first, but the King and Queen welcomed her, possibly because they did not want their own children to endure the same experience as they had.  Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were married on August 25. 2001.

Aftenposten, Oslo 19680618. Forlovelsen. Kronprins Harald og Sonja Haraldsen - fotosession i Slottsparken juni 1968, i anledning det forestående bryllup. Sonja i kortermet rosa kjole og hvite sko. Foto: John Myhre / Aftenposten *** FOTO IKKE BILDEBEHANDLET ***

Part of the exhibit Jubileumsparken was this photo of Crown Prince Harald and Sonja Haraldsen on the day they met the press to announce their engagement in 1968. John Myhre, Aftenposten, NTB scanpix

Next Generation
Haakon and Mette-Marits eldest child, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, is second in line to the throne, after Crown Prince Haakon, and is already being prepared and trained for future duties. Despite her young age (12), she seems to be mindful of her future responsibilities, and she is no stranger to performing in public. Like many of Norwegians Abroad members’ kids, and the kids attending Norgesskolen, Princess Ingrid Alexandra goes to an international school, Oslo International School in Bekkestua. The Princess loves music and plays the piano.

tre-generasjonerKing Harald, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who will take over the throne one day. Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs, det kongelige hoff.

The People’s King and Queen
King Harald and Queen Sonja are now more popular than ever, and His Majesty the King regularly tops the people’s popularity list. In the fall, they concluded the quarter-century celebrations with an outdoor film screening in the Palace Park, where they also attended, together with Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Astrid and Princess Martha Louise. The film showed was The King’s Choice by Erik Poppe, who was previously interviewed in Norwegians Worldwide. The film revolves around nine dramatic and historic days in 1940, when King Haakon bravely held firm against the Nazi occupation, and had to flee the country with Crown Prince Olav and Prince Harald and Princess Astrid. Over 12 000 people attended the screening, and the film has been a huge success in Norway.