A tribute to Norway’s majestic royal couple
Reigning with style, grace, and love
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
They have been on the throne for over three decades now as the head of Norway’s royal family. King Harald V and Queen Sonja have tirelessly served the people of Norway, never once embarrassing them. Their love story is an inspiring one and perhaps at the core of their success as reigning monarchs. King Harald V and Queen Sonja are Norway’s truly majestic royals.
Prince Harald was born Feb. 21, 1937, in the royal residence, Skaugum, the only son of Crown Prince (later king) Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Sweden. He had two sisters, the late Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid. As is well known after the PBS mini-series Atlantic Crossing last year, the family fled Norway after the Nazi Germany invasion of World War II, and Harald spent the war years in Washington, D.C.
Sonja Haraldsen was born July 4, 1937, at the Red Cross Clinic in Oslo. Her father was a clothing merchant, which led Sonja to earn a diploma in dressmaking and tailoring, as well as a degree from the finishing school, École Professionnelle des Jeunes Filles in Switzerland. She then attended the University of Oslo, earning a degree in French, English, and art history.
While Sonja ’s background in many ways prepared her for her future role as Norway’s monarch, when she first met Crown Prince Harald, the match was considered to be a mesalliance, a marriage to someone of a lower status; Sonja was a commoner. The couple quietly dated for nine years. Finally, the crown prince told his father, King Olav, that he would never marry unless he were granted permission to wed his true love, Sonja. If he were to never marry and have children, the family’s reign on the throne would end after Harald’s death.
In March 1968, the royal court of Norway announced that King Olav had given permission for the couple to wed. They were married on Aug. 29, 1968, at Oslo Cathedral with full fanfare and regalia. Sonja threw herself into her work as the Crown Princess of Norway and quickly gained popularity with the Norwegian people.
The marriage of Harald and Sonja has been one of much happiness and sincere love for one another. They celebrated 30 years on the throne in January 2021 and continue to serve their country and its people they love.
This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.