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Oppdatert 02.04.2002 11:53

Bryllupet
ROYAL WEDDING

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HM Queen Sonja - the groom's mother

Publisert 23.08.2001 18:05

Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner, became Crown Princess Sonja when she married Crown Prince Harald in 1968.

Born 4 July 1937 in Oslo. Daughter of Karl Haraldsen (d. 1959) and Dagny (ne Ulrichsen) Haraldsen (1898-1994). She has one brother, Haakon Haraldsen (b. 1921) and one sister, Gry Haraldsen (b. 1924).

When Crown Prince Harald acceded to the throne on the death of his father, King Olav V, on 17 January 1991, she became the first queen in Norway for 53 years.

1968: official Wedding Photo

Family

Her engagement to the then Crown Prince Harald was announced in March 1968, nine years after their first meeting.

The wedding ceremony was held on 29 August 1968 in the Oslo cathedral. They have two children: Princess Mrtha Louise, b. 22 September 1971, and Prince Haakon Magnus (Crown Prince Haakon after 1991), born 20 July 1973.

Education

She grew up at Vinderen in Oslo, took her lower secondary school diploma in 1954, and studied dressmaking and tailoring at the Oslo Vocational School.

She received a diploma from the Swiss Ecole Professionelle des Jeunes Filles, a women’s college in Lausanne which offered social sciences, accounting and fashion design.

Later she took her upper secondary school diploma as an external candidate and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oslo, where she studied French, English and art history.

Newlyweds: Crown Princess Sonja and Crown Prince Harald at Momarkedet in 1969

Official duties

As Crown Princess, she carried out a number of official duties over the years, either together with her father-in-law, King Olav, or her husband, or on her own.

She and Crown Prince Harald opened many doors for Norwegian export industries. As queen she has travelled extensively both in Norway and abroad, and is patron of a number of organizations.

In 1972 she participated in the establishment of a fund in her daughter’ name, HRH Princess Mrtha Louise’s Fund, which is devoted to helping disabled Norwegian children.

She is deeply concerned about the plight of refugees and immigrants and frequently visits institutions for the elderly, children and the mentally retarded.

In the 1970s she took an active part in several large fund-raising drives for the benefit of refugees. In 1982 she was awarded the Nansen Medal by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. From 1987 to 1990 she was Vice President of the Norwegian Red Cross.

Leisure interests

Queen Sonja has a wide range of personal interests. For example, she is extremely interested in art and interior design.

Queen Sonja's book on her art collection.
She is a very qualified art collector, and a selection of the works in her private collection is currently being exhibited at the Henie-Onstad Arts Centre.

Other fields of interests are theatre, cinema, reading, music, ballet and all aspects of French culture. She is also very fond of outdoor life and enjoys long hikes and ski trips in the Norwegian mountains every year.

She is a certified skiing instructor.



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