Queen Sonja of Norway celebrates her 82nd Birthday on Thursday, 4 July 2019 and her daughter posts a special message on Instagram.

Queen Sonja of Norway seen with some of her work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on 25 February 2015. © Carolyn M Cash

However, Queen Sonja has a very busy schedule as she will visit a festival at Helgeland and open the Helgelandstrappa (Helgeland Stairs) this weekend. On Monday, 8 July 2019, Queen Sonja will be attending the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival’s 15th anniversary.

A Girl of the People

The daughter of clothing merchant Karl August Haraldsen and Dagny Ulrichsen, Sonja was born at the Red Cross Clinic in Oslo on 4 July 1937.

After finishing high school in 1954, Sonja completed a diploma in dressmaking and tailoring at the Oslo Vocational School, and studied accounting, fashion design and social science at a Swiss finishing school.

Queen Sonja, 2019. Photo: Facebook/Kongehuset, Tore Meek, NTB Scanpix

Sonja received an undergraduate degree after studying French, English and Art History at the University of Oslo.

She met Crown Prince Harald at a dinner party in June 1959, and invited to his graduation ball two months later.

However, their fairytale romance didn’t go plan as their relationship was kept a secret because she was a commoner.

King Olav V wanted his son to marry a princess but the Crown Prince put his foot down by saying he refused to marry unless it was Sonja.

Crown Prince Harald and Miss Sonja Haraldsen in 1968. Photo: NTB Archive / De kongelige samlinger

Finally, King Olav agreed and they became engaged on 19 March 1968.

They married at Oslo Cathedral on 29 August 1968 and have two children: Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon.

Sonja became the first queen consort in over 50 years, when her father-in-law died on 17 January 1991, following illness and a heart attack.

Queen Sonja was present in the Storting (parliament) when King Harald swore an oath to uphold the Constitution in the Storting on 21 January 1991.

The new King and Queen were consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 23 June 1991, and spent ten days visiting southern Norway.

Nature and the Queen Sonja Print Award

Queen Sonja is an honorary member of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) as she has visited nearly every place in Norway, with some hiking trails and nature paths named in her honour.

She is also a keen photographer and often captures images of her trips in Norway.

‘Impressions of Norway’. Queen Sonja enjoys hiking, 27 November 2012. Photo: The Royal Court

The Queen has produced some of her own graphic prints which have been on display, including Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Queen Sonja Print Award was established in 2011, with the award presented biannually, with NOK 400,000 (about AUD 67,000) and a one-week educational stay at the Atelje Larsen art studio in Helsingborg, Sweden.

Queen Sonja and King Harald V at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli, on 24 February 2015. Photo: Carolyn M Cash

Princess Märtha Louise Birthday Greetings

Princess Märtha Louise posted her birthday greetings for her mother on Instagram.

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