Sonja of Norway


July 6, 2022

Sonja (born 4 July 1937 as Sonja Haraldsen in Oslo) is the Queen of Norway. Queen Sonja is the daughter of Karl August Haraldsen (1889 - 1959) and Dagny Haraldsen, born Ulrichsen (1898 - 1994). She married Crown Prince Harald on 29 August 1968 and then became Norway's Crown Princess.

Upbringing and education

Sonja Haraldsen grew up in Tuengen allé 1B (now Charlotte Andersens vei 1A) on Vinderen in Oslo and graduated from high school in 1954. She trained in dress and suit sewing at Oslo vocational school. She then traveled to Switzerland and graduated from the L'École Professionelle des jeunes Filles in Lausanne. The teaching also included social studies, accounting and fashion drawing. Later, the Queen took artium as a private student at Bjørknes Private School. After graduating in the subjects French, English and art history at the University of Oslo, she became M.Sc. Sonja's siblings were Haakon Haraldsen (1921 - 2016), Gry Henriksen (1924 - 1970) and Karl Herman Haraldsen (1929 - 1936).

Engagement and wedding

Sonja Haraldsen met Crown Prince Harald for the first time in 1959. Nine years later it became clear that they were allowed to marry. In March 1968 came the news that King Olav had given his permission for the Crown Prince to marry civilly. The engagement gave rise to a debate about the future of the monarchy in Norway. Opposition to the crown prince getting married civilly turned out to be far less than many feared. On August 29, 1968, the wedding took place in Oslo Cathedral. In connection with the wedding, the Crown Princess was also awarded the Grand Cross by the Order of St. Olav. Crown Princess and Queen Immediately after the wedding, the Crown Princess took up her royal duties by representing in Norway and abroad. In 1972, she was involved in the establishment of the Princess Märtha Louise Foundation, which provides assistance to disabled children in Norway. She has actively participated in large fundraisers to help international refugees and in the 1970s visited, among other things, Vietnamese boat refugees in Malaysia. From 1987 to 1990, Crown Princess Sonja was vice president of the Norwegian Red Cross. She was responsible for the organization's international activities. She participated in delegations to Botswana and Zimbabwe in 1989. When King Olav V died on 17 January 1991, Crown Prince Harald ascended the throne as King Harald V. Crown Princess Sonja also became Norway's first queen in 52 years. She also became the first Norwegian-born queen since Margrete Skulesdatter in the 13th century. Queen Sonja accompanied King Harald when he took the oath of office in the Storting on 21 January 1991. For the first time in 69 years, a queen was present in the Storting hall. Later, the Queen was also present when the king read the Trontal during the Storting's solemn opening. At their own request, the royal couple was signed in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 23 June 1991. As queen, she has helped to transform and reorganize the royal house's functions. During the renovation of the Palace in Oslo, Queen Sonja was one of the most important suppliers of premises. She has also played a significant role in the care and construction of other royal residences in Norway. From her early youth, she has been interested in modern art, and as a collector and patron, she has meant a lot to many artists. Her private art collection was exhibited at the Henie-Onstad Museum in 2001–2002 and became an audience magnet. In the collection we find artists like Andy Warhol, Inger Sitter, Leonard Rickhard, Kira Wager, A.K. Dolven, Mari Slaattelid, Axel Hütte, Bjarne Melgaard and Kjell Nupen. The queen is otherwise an active outdoor person and often goes for walks in the mountains.


Queen Sonja is the patron of the following organizations. FolkOrg - organization for folk music and folk dance The past memory association The Royal Society for the Welfare of Norway Norwegian Museum Association Norges Husflidslag Det Norske Hageselskap The Norwegian Institute in Rome The Norwegian Institute in Athens The Norwegian Opera & Ballet Oslo Philharmonic Oslo Chamber Music Festival The Red Cross Foundation Red Cr