Royals’ Silver Jubilee
Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway mark 25 years on the throne with entertainment and performances in Oslo
Sarah Bostock & Michael Sandelson
The weekend of celebrations began on Friday, January 15, with King Harald and Queen Sonja attending an event in the Royal Palace’s Small Ceremonial Hall.
Representatives of some of Norway’s official institutions conveyed congratulations from the Government, the Parliament (Stortinget), the Sámi Parliament (Sámediggi), County Governors, and municipal organizations. The diplomatic corps, the Church of Norway, and other religious and secular organizations were also represented there.
Their Majesties Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden attended as guests to the jubilee celebration too.
The public was able to send their own congratulatory messages to Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja from 3:00 p.m., Friday, by signing the official congratulatory register in the Palace’s Protocol Room. A congratulatory message register was also established on the Royal Court’s website, which was open until midnight on Sunday, January 17.
Sunday, the jubilee day, saw both a service in the Palace Chapel and winter games in the Palace Square. Bishop Helga Haugand Byfuglien of the Church of Norway led the service, which was broadcast live on NRK1.
As well as Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, other members of the Norwegian Royal Family, and representatives of official institutions in Norway were in attendance.
Between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the Palace Square played host to winter activities organized by the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports. Activities include an opportunity to try skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, ice sliding, and participating in a biathlon with laser rifles. Ski and snowboard equipment were made available to anyone without their own. There was also figure skating for children at the Spikersuppa ice skating rink on Karl Johans gate (the main shopping street downtown) and figure skating and snowboarding shows at either location.
This event was concluded with a 21-gun salute in honor of the Norwegian King and Queen sounding throughout the country at 1:00 p.m.
The Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games are opening in February, and as part of the celebration the Youth Olympic flame was carried across the Palace Square. His Highness Prince Sverre Magnus had the honor of bearing the torch, with assistance from Olympic gold medalists Bjørn Dæhlie and Tora Berger, and Sajandan Rutthira, who was recently awarded this year’s changemaker award at Norway’s annual Sports Gala in Lillehammer.
In the afternoon there was a candle lighting in honor of King Harald and Queen Sonja, and in the memory of Norway’s previous monarch King Olav V, who died of a heart attack on January 17, 1991, at 87 years old after a reign of 33 years.
The last published event for the jubilee day was a gala performance in the University of Oslo’s Aula, before which Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg greeted Their Majesties. Amongst those performing were the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Kringkastingsorkesteret/KORK) and artists from a wide range of music genres who represent developments in Norwegian society over the past 25 years. Those appearing include singer Sissel Kyrkjebø and two famous Norwegian actors, Toralv Maurstad and Espen Skjønberg.
It also appeared in the Jan. 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.