Queen Sonja of Norway
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Queen Sonja in 2017
|Queen consort of Norway|
|Tenure||17 January 1991 – present|
|Benediction||23 June 1991 |
July 4, 1937
Red Cross Clinic, Oslo, Norway
Harald V of Norway (m. 1968)
|Father||Karl August Haraldsen|
|Norwegian royal family|
HH Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner
Sonja was born in 4 July 1937 at Red Cross Clinic in Oslo, the daughter of clothing merchant Karl August Haraldsen (1889–1959) and Dagny Ulrichsen (1896–1994). Her siblings were Haakon Haraldsen (1921–2016), Gry Henriksen (1924–1971) and Karl Herman Haraldsen (1929–1936, who died in a boating accident). She grew up at Tuengen Allé 1B in the district of Vinderen in Oslo and completed her lower secondary schooling in 1954. She received a diploma in dressmaking and tailoring at the Oslo Vocational School, and a diploma from École Professionnelle des Jeunes Filles (a finishing school) in Lausanne, Switzerland. There, she studied accounting, fashion design, and social science. She returned to Norway for further studies and received an undergraduate degree (French, English and Art History) from the University of Oslo.
Marriage to Crown Prince Harald
In June 1959, she first met Crown Prince Harald at a party hosted by Johan H. Stenersen. Later in August, the Crown Prince invited her to his graduation ball, where they were photographed together for the first time. They dated for nine years, although their relationship had been kept secret because she was a commoner. The Crown Prince made it clear to his father, King Olav V, that he would remain unmarried for life unless he could marry her. This would in effect have put an end to the rule of his family, and likely to the monarchy in Norway, as Harald was the sole heir to the throne. Faced with having to choose one of his relatives from the Danish Royal Family, the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein or even the Grand Dukes of Oldenburg as his new heir in place of his son, Olav V consulted the government for advice and, as a result, Sonja became engaged to Crown Prince Harald on 19 March 1968. The couple married on 29 August 1968, at Oslo Domkirke in Oslo. She thus acquired the style of Royal Highness and the title of Crown Princess of Norway.
- Princess Märtha Louise, born on 22 September 1971 at The National Hospital in Oslo. She married Ari Behn, born on 30 September 1972 (died 2019), on 24 May 2002 (div. 2017). They have 3 daughters:
- Crown Prince Haakon, born on 20 July 1973 at The National Hospital, The Oslo University Hospital in Oslo . He married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, born 19 August 1973, on 25 August 2001. She has a son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby, born on 13 January 1997. They have 2 children:
In 1972 she was involved in establishing Princess Märtha Louise’s Fund, which provides assistance to disabled children in Norway. She has taken active part in large-scale initiatives to raise funds for international refugees and spent time in the 1970s visiting Vietnamese boat refugees in Malaysia.
From 1987 to 1990, Crown Princess Sonja served as Vice President of the Norwegian Red Cross. She was responsible for the organisation’s international activities. She took part in a Red Cross delegation to Botswana and Zimbabwe in 1989.
Music and the arts
Sonja established the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in 1988. It was originally for pianists, but in 1995 the competition became only for singers. The jury consists of diverse authoritative figures in opera and the winners receive a cash amount and prestigious engagements at Norwegian music institutions.
She is a longtime avid photographer and has a keen interest in art. She is a printmaker, and held exhibitions with artists Kjell Nupen and Ørnulf Opdahl in 2011 and 2013. The Queen Sonja Nordic Art Award was established in 2011 with Tiina Kivinen from Finland being the first recipient in 2012. The prize will be awarded every other year.
In 2017, The Queen Sonja Art Stable was opened, a venue which will function as a scene for arts and culture. Together with King Harald, the queen has for decades attempted with establishing a palace museum in Oslo.
Following the death of King Olav V on 17 January 1991, Sonja became Norway's first queen consort in 52 years. Queen Sonja accompanied King Harald V when he swore his oath to uphold the Constitution in the Storting on 21 January 1991. During Haakon VII's reign, his wife Queen Maud of Wales died in 1938 and his son Olav V was then crown prince when his wife Princess Märtha of Sweden died in 1954 before he became king three years later. It was also the first time in 69 years that a Norwegian queen had been present in the Storting. Since his accession, Queen Sonja has accompanied the King to the formal opening of the autumn session of the Storting and the reading of the Speech from the Throne.
In accordance with their own wishes, the King and Queen were consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 23 June 1991. Following the consecration, the King and Queen conducted a 10-day tour of Southern Norway. In 1992, the entire Royal Family conducted a 22-day tour of Norway’s four northernmost counties.
The Queen accompanies the King on official state visits abroad. She acts as the hostess when foreign heads of state officially visit Norway.
In 2005, Queen Sonja became the first queen ever to visit Antarctica. The Queen was there to open the Norwegian Troll research station in the country's Antarctic dependency, Queen Maud Land. The Queen flew in on one of the Royal Norwegian Air Force's C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, landing at Troll Airfield.
In 2017 Queen Sonja was awarded the Trysil-Knut Prize. She is the first woman to ever receive the award.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Queen Sonja as consort
|Reference style||Her Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
Titles and styles
- 4 July 1937 – 29 August 1968: Miss Sonja Haraldsen
- 29 August 1968 – 17 January 1991: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Norway
- 17 January 1991 – present: Her Majesty The Queen of Norway
- Norway: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of St. Olav °
- Norway: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit °
- The Royal House Centenary Medal °
- Haakon VIIs Centenary Medal °
- Olav Vs Commemorative Medal of 30. January 1991 °
- Olav Vs Jubilee Medal 1957-1982 °
- Olav Vs Centenary Medal°
- Harald Vs Jubilee Medal 1991-2016 °
- Royal Family Order of King Olav V of Norway °
- Royal Family Order of King Harald V of Norway °
- Norwegian Red Cross Badge of Honour °
- The Nansen Medal °
- Oslo Military Society Badge of Honour in Gold °
- Argentina: Grand Cross of the Order of May °
- Austria Grand Star of the Order of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1978) °
- Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold °
- Brazil Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross °
- Bulgaria: Grand Cross of the Order of Stara Planina °
- Chile: Grand Cross of the Order of the Merit °
- Croatia - Grand Order of Queen Jelena °
- Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (12 February 1973) °
- Estonia 1st Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (24 August 1998) °
- Estonia 1st Class of the Order of the White Star (2 September 2014)
- Finland Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland °
- France Grand Cross of the Ordre national du Mérite
- Germany Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany °
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer °
- Hungary Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary °
- The Golden Olympic order (IOC) °
- Iceland Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon (21 October 1981) °
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (19 October 2011) °
- Japan: Paulownia Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown °
- Jordan: Dame Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance ° (Order of Al-Nahda)
- Latvia: Grand Cross of the Order of the Three Stars (2 September 1998) °
- Latvia: Cross of Recognition (12 March 2015) °
- Lithuania Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (3 September 1998)  °
- Luxembourg: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Adolph of Nassau °
- Luxembourg: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau °
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion °
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown °
- Netherlands Medal to commemorate the enthronement of Queen Beatrix °
- Poland Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle °
- Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Portugal (2 January 1981) °
- Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique (13 February 2004) °
- Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (26 May 2008) °
- Slovakia: Second Class or Grand Officer of the Order of the White Double Cross (2010)
- Slovenia: Recipient of the Decoration for Exceptional Merits (2011) °
- South Korea: Grand Gwanghwa Medal of the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit °
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (21 April 1995) °
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (12 April 1982) °
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Seraphim °
- Sweden : Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf (30 April 1996)
- Sweden: Recipient of the Ruby Jubilee Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf (15 September 2013)
Rem : The mark ° shows the honours mentioned on Queen Sonja's official website page
- Coronation discarded by constitutional amendment in 1908. Harald V swore the Royal Oath in the Storting on 21 January 1991 and received the benediction in the Nidaros Cathedral on 23 June 1991. Norwegian paper Aftenposten on the royal benediction
- "The Official Website of the Royal House of Norway: Her Majesty Queen Sonja".
- Karl August Haraldsen (b. April 5, 1889 in Solum, Skien, d. March 9, 1959 in Oslo) was a Norwegian clothing trader and department store manager. He was the son of a ship captain, Halvor Haraldsen (1854 - 1931) and wife Josefine Nielsen (1854 - 1939). He was the proprietor and manager of the renowned women's wear store Karl A. Haraldsen AS in Oslo.
- Haakon Haraldsen (eldest brother of Queen Sonja) was the father of CEO Karl Otto Haraldsen, himself stepfather of TV personality Pia Haraldsen.
- Dronning Sonjas bror, Haakon Haraldsen er død, 95 år gammel. Han gravlegges i Oslo fredag.
- Gry Henriksen (elder sister of Queen Sonja) was the mother of Dag Swanstrøm, former CEO of Synnøve Finden.
- AquinoReporter, Gabriel (15 August 2018). "Before they were royal: The life of Queen Sonja of Norway". Royal Central. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
- Article from the Norwegian Directorate of Education on Queen Sonja’s School Award (in Norwegian) Retrieved 6 November 2007
- Royal House web page on the Queen's areas of special interest Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 6 November 2007
- Queen Sonja International Music Competition web page Archived 20 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2 September 2009
- Jan Thomas Holmlund (27 October 2011): Her er dronning Sonjas egne kunstverk (in Norwegian) Verdens Gang, retrieved 6 July 2013
- Lars Elton (6 July 2013): De tre musketêrer (in Norwegian) Verdens Gang, retrieved 6 July 2013
- H.M. Dronning Sonjas kunstnerstipend (in Norwegian) Kongehuset.no, retrieved 6 July 2013
- Totl, Kjell Arne. "Kongehusekspert Kjell Arne Totland skriver: Gi kongeparet et permanent slottsmuseum". Aftenposten (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Moxnes, Agnes (27 December 2018). "På tide med et slottsmuseum". NRK (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Dronning Sonja får Trysil-Knut prisen (in Norwegian) [h-a.no], retrieved 17 May 2018
- "Video from NRK of Sonja participating in a winter exercise". Archived from the original on 9 September 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
- Article from the Norwegian defence on Royals in the military Archived 14 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine (Norwegian)
- firstname.lastname@example.org. "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". www1.hw.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (pdf) (in German). p. 518. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Belga Pictures, State visit of Norway in Belgium, May 2003, Group photo Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Harald V & Paola Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Albert II & Sonja
- "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". Kongehuset (in Danish). 12 December 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Vabariigi President". www.president.ee. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Vabariigi President". www.president.ee. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Noblesse et Royautés Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine (French), State visit of President of Finland in Norway, 2012, Photo Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Iceland Archived 3 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". www.quirinale.it. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- The Royal Forums, State visit of japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
- vestnesis.lv. "Par apbalvošanu ar Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni - Latvijas Vēstnesis". www.vestnesis.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- vestnesis.lv. "Par Atzinības krusta piešķiršanu - Latvijas Vēstnesis". www.vestnesis.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Lithuanian Presidency Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Lithuanian Orders searching form
- Photo of a State visit of Lithuania to Norway, March 2011
- Portuguese presidential website, Orders search form
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- "Noblesse et Royautés" Archived 22 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Guests to Victoria of Sweden's wedding, Photo Archived 8 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- 2007 Holmenkollen medalists announced - Accessed 18 March 2007. (in Norwegian)
- Holmenkollen medal presented to Estil and Hjelmeset - Accessed 21 March 2007
Title last held byMaud of Wales
| Queen consort of Norway
1991 – present