| The Queen of Norway|
|Reign|| 17 January 1991 – present|
( 28 years, 96 days)
|Consecration||23 June 1991(aged 53)|
|Spouse||Harald V of Norway|
| Princess Märtha Louise|
Crown Prince Haakon
|House||House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg|
|Father||Karl August Haraldsen|
|Born|| 4 July 1937 |
HM The King*
*Member of the Norwegian Royal House
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). 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.
She had 3 siblings:
- Haakon Haraldsen (1921–2016), her eldest brother. He was the father of CEO Karl Otto Haraldsen, himself stepfather of TV personality Pia Haraldsen.
- Gry Henriksen (1924–1971), her elder sister. She was the mother of 4 children, including Dag Swanstrøm, former CEO of Synnøve Finden.
- Karl Herman Haraldsen (1929–1936), who died in a boating accident.
Queen Sonja grew up at 1B Tuengen Allé 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, as well as a diploma from École Professionelle des Jeunes Filles 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.
Engagement and marriageEdit
- See Engagement of Crown Prince Harald of Norway and Sonja Haraldsen and Wedding of Crown Prince Harald of Norway and Sonja Haraldsen
Miss Sonja Haraldsen first met Crown Prince Harald in 1959. They had been dating for nine years, although this had been kept secret because of opposition to her non-royal status. It was not until nine years later, however, that she and the Crown Prince were given permission to marry.
The engagement between Miss Haraldsen and Crown Prince Harald triggered a debate regarding the future of the monarchy in Norway. There was far less resistance to the idea of the Crown Prince choosing a commoner to be his wife than many had feared. The Norwegian people immediately accepted Crown Princess Sonja as a member of the Royal Family.
She became engaged to then Crown Prince Harald in March 1968. 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 probably to the monarchy in Norway, as he 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 the result was that the couple were wed 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.
Sonja and Harald have 2 children:
- Princess Märtha Louise, born on 22 September 1971 at The National Hospital in Oslo. She married Ari Behn, born on 30 September 1972, on 24 May 2002. They have 3 daughters:
- Crown Prince Haakon, born on 20 July 1973 at The National 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:
As Crown Princess of NorwayEdit
Immediately after the wedding, the new Crown Princess began to carry out her royal duties, traveling extensively in Norway and abroad. 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 organization's international activities. She took part in a Red Cross delegation to Botswana and Zimbabwe in 1989.
Music and the arts Edit
Another of the Queen’s major interests is music. She is patron of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Chamber Music Festival, the Norwegian Traditional Music and Dance Association, the Norwegian Youth Orchestra Association and Elverum Music Festival. She is also actively involved in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition. This competiton is held every other year and attracts outstanding opera talents from all over the world. Her Majesty follows the competition and presents the prizes to the winners.
The then-Crown Princess Sonja established this music competition (now 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.
Cultural interests Edit
Queen Sonja has many interests that she combines with her duties as Norway’s First Lady.
The Queen is particularly interested in art and culture, and attend art exhibitions and cultural events both in Norway and abroad as her programme will allow. She is also concerned with monuments of the past, and is patron of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments.
The Queen is greatly interested in the visual arts. Works from her private art collection were exhibited at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre at Høvikodden, near Oslo in 2001 and 2012, and at Scandinavian House in New York in 2005. In 2011, the Queen established Her Majesty Queen Sonja’s Art Award in cooperation with artists Kjell Nupen, Ørnulf Opdahl and Ole Larsen. The award was initially presented to Nordic artists working in a paper-based format. The first recipient was Finnish graphic artist Tiina Kivinen in 2012. In 2014, the prize became an international distinction and was renamed the Queen Sonja Print Award. The first international recipient was US visual artist Tauba Auerbach in 2016.
The Foundation behind the Queen Sonja Print Award seeks to generate interest in and promote the development of graphic art. The prize is currently believed to be the world’s largest graphic art award.
In recent years the Queen herself has become a graphic artist and ceramicist, and her works have been on display in a number of exhibitions in Norway and abroad.
Following the death of King Olav V on 17 January 1991, Sonja became Norway's first queen consort in 53 years. Queen Sonja accompanied King Harald V when he swore his oath to uphold the Constitution in the Storting on 21 January 1991. It was the first time in 69 years that a Norwegian queen had been present in the Storting. Queen Sonja has accompanied the King to the formal opening of the fall session of the Storting and the reading of the Speech from the Throne since his accession.
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. The Queen has also given lectures on Norway as a tourist destination on several occasions during official state visits abroad.
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.
Queen Sonja’s School Award was established in 2006 and is awarded to schools who have "demonstrated excellence in its efforts to promote inclusion and equality".
In 2017 Queen Sonja was awarded the Trysil-Knut Prize. She is the first woman to ever receive the award.
The Queen is appointed a Rear Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy and a Brigadier in the Norwegian army. She has undergone a basic officer training course and has participated in exercises.
Outdoor activities Edit
In Norway, the Queen is renowned for her interest in nature, outdoor recreation and the environment. There is scarcely a place in the country that the Queen has not visited. Several hiking trails and nature paths bear her name, and she is an honorary member of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). The Queen’s concern about nature conservation and the environment has become more visible in recent years through her participation in clean-up actions.
The Queen is a keen photographer, and often takes photographs of her trips in Norway. On several occasions, in Norway and abroad, Queen Sonja has given lectures and talks on Norway as a tourist destination at which she has shown her private photographs.
- Red Cross Nordic United World College
- Norwegian Folk Art and Craft Association
- Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments
- Norwegian Association of Museums
- Norwegian National Opera
- Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
- Oslo Chamber Music Festival
- Førde International Folk Music Festival
- National Association of Folk Music and Dance
- Royal Norwegian Society for Development
- Norwegian Horticulture Society
- Norwegian Institute in Rome
- Norwegian Institute in Athens
Titles, styles, honors, and armsEdit
Titles and stylesEdit
- 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
In 1982 she was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award. In 2007, she received the Holmenkollen medal with Simon Ammann, Frode Estil, Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset, and her husband, King Harald V.
- Norwegian honors
- Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav
- Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian 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
- Royal Family Order of King Olav V of Norway
- Royal Family Order of King Harald V of Norway
- Norwegian Red Cross Badge of Honor
- The Nansen Medal
- Oslo Military Society Badge of Honor in Gold
- Foreign honors
- Austria: Grand Cross of the Decoration of Honour for Merit
- 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 The Balkan Mountains
- Croatia: Grand Order of Queen Jelena
- Denmark: Knight of the Elephant
- Estonia: Grand Cross of the Cross of Terra Mariana
- Finland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose
- France: Grand Cross of the Ordre national du Mérite
- Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Saviour
- Hungary: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic
- The Golden Olympic order (IOC)
- Iceland: Grand cross of the Order of the Falcon
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Italian Order of Merit
- Japan: Grand Cross of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Jordan: Grand Cross of the Order of Al-Nahda (Order of the Renaissance)
- Latvia: Grand Cross of the Order of the Three Stars
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great
- Luxembourg: Grand Cross of the Order of Adolph of Nassau
- Luxembourg: Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
- Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Netherlands: 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 Christ
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Portugal
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Seraphim
- Sweden: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf (30/04/1996)
- Sweden: Recipient of the Ruby Jubilee Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf (15/09/2013)