Norway congratulates Queen Sonja

The Royal family. Royal Court Queen Sonja 80 years oldThe Royal family. Photo: Royal Court

The modern Royal House’s mother is 80 years old. Norway congratulates Queen Sonja

In 1991, Sonja became Norway’s first Queen for 52 years, and she was given the task of forming the role the Queen has in Norway. She is celebrating her birthday on Tuesday.


The 80th anniversary of Queen Sonja is marked with the opening of the KunstStall gallery, the unveiling of a gift from the Norwegian Tourist Association (DNT) and a congratulations from the people. All of whom has been important constituents of Sonja’s life as Norway’s first lady.

– There are certain tasks that are fixed for a Queen. She is responsible for the household and for being a hostess. In addition, she has had a relatively large opportunity to shape the role according to her own interests, says historian and author Trond Norén Isaksen to NTB.

When King Harald took over as a monarch in 1991, it was 52 years and 2 months since Queen Maud died. Maud had not been particularly active in the last years she lived, and Sonja could largely form her own role.

Culture and nature

Queen Sonja 80 years old

Queen Sonja 80 years old . Photo: Royal Court

Isaksen points out that it is Sonja’s merit that culture has become one of the supporting elements of the monarchy today. Sonja has been good at using art to promote Norway abroad. Among other things, she participated in the opening of “Munch vs. Warhol »in New York in April 2013, and in 2016 she opened the exhibition« Painting Norway: Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928) »in London.

– In addition, she climbs in the mountains. There are not many other 80 year old ladies who do that! Praises the historian.

Sonja is educated in dress and costume, social science, accounting and fashion drawing.

På lag med kongen

It took nine years from Sonja to meet Harald until the two got permission to marry. The fact that the Crown Prince married bourgeois speeded up the debate about the future of the monarchy in Norway. But that was not the only challenge the untraditional pair supported. During the half-century the nation stood without a Queen, many had forgotten that she would have an active role in the royal house, not just beautify.

– We saw that, among other things, when Harald was to open the Parliament (Storting) in 1991 and President Benkow said that Sonja had no role there, says Isaksen.

It was new to many that the King consulted others in his decisions. King Olav was a widower and a man who made his own decisions. Harald, on the other hand, has been more open for the Queen to state her opinion, and in recent years he has also included the Crown Prince in his work.

However, The Queen is not completely rid of the feeling of just being for decoration.

– It has annoyed me. For example, when you are out on an official mission, it happens that the press does not write about what’s going on, but just about what you are wearing. It is very disappointing, the Queen said in an interview with NTB in February.

– Woman of her time

The Queen has continued some of Maud heart issues, such as working with women’s organizations and emergencies.

– But Sonja extended it. She is a woman of her time and has a much bigger field of play, says Isaksen.

In the youth the queen competed with the boys in sports and activities. Later she became Colonel of the Armed Forces.

– In a longer perspective, what she has done will be normative for the future. She has hammered out that the Queen should have an active role, have own office and participate. Crown Princess Mette-Marit will not have to create her own role to the same extent, Isaksen concludes.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today