Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Harald and Sonja - The Wedding Celebrations

The festivities of the wedding of Prince Harald and Miss Haraldsen were marked by two cheerless events which reduced the grandiosity of the celebrations, that had been meticulously planned for months. The Norwegian Royal Family had not had many events to celebrate since the accession and consecration of King Olav V in 1957 and those celebrations had still been very much marked by the sad death of Crown Princess Märtha, that should have become Norway’s Queen, only 3 years before. The announcement that the celebrations would be quite as grand as the ones of the wedding of Princess Margrethe of Denmark to Count Henri Laborde de Montpezat, one year before, definitely made the planning of the wedding conquer the popular interest and imagination.

However, the death of HRH the Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, a friend of King Olav V and above all the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet forces would sadly reduce the celebrations even if the happiness of the Crown Prince and Miss Haraldsen or indeed the one of the Norwegian people were not affected. Of the three days of celebrations that had been planned to mark the first wedding of a Crown Prince in almost 40 years, only the last two went ahead as planned having the first day’s main event been cancelled in protest of the Soviet attack.

An impressive cortege of official cars goes through the gardens of the Fortress of Akershus, carrying the guests for the state banquet that was being offered by the Government of the Kingdom in honour of HRH Crown Prince Harald and Miss Sonja Haraldsen. The cars pass between two lines of soldiers of the King’s Troop who present their arms.

HM King Olav V of Norway, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Harald and Miss Sonja Haraldsen arriving at the Fortress of Akershus on the 28th August 1968, the day before the Royal Wedding, for the state banquet offered by the Government. The King and the Crown Prince wear the sash of the Order of St. Olav under their dress coat while Miss Haraldsen wears a very sober coat over her embroidered dress. On his neck, the King wore the diamond-incrusted Grand-Cross of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog.

On Tuesday, the 27th August, in the morning, the Danish Royal Yatch, the Dannebrog, arrived in Oslo carrying TRH Princess Margrethe and Prince Henrik, who enjoyed a considerable popularity in Norway due to their glittering wedding ceremony in Copenhagen that had been a focus of attention of the Norwegians. The King of Norway, Crown Prince Harald and Miss Haraldsen received the Danish royal couple, and during the day the Crown Prince and his bride received several guests at the airport. After consultation with the Government, the grand ball, which should open the festivities that evening, was cancelled due to the Soviet invasion. Instead, a smaller dinner was held at the Royal Palace of Oslo for the royal guests that had arrived during the day.

On the subsequent morning, the news of the death of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, arrived in Oslo leading some press to question if the King would decided to postpone the wedding, due to his closeness to the British Royal Family and mainly because it would add to the very tense atmosphere that was being felt as a result of the events in Czechoslovakia. Some international press recalled that some years before the name of HRH Princess Marina had been whispered as a possible second wife of King Olav, after the deaths of both their consorts, the Duke of Kent and Crown Princess Märtha. However, the Palace obviously announced that the wedding and the rest of the celebrations were to go ahead as planned.

Thus, on the Wednesday, the 28th August, in the morning, the King of Norway, Crown Prince Harald and Miss Haraldsen accompanied their guests to a modern art exhibition in the Høvikodden Art Center, in Bærum, outside Oslo. After the visit to the exhibition a lunch was arranged at Munkebakken, Lysaker in Bærum, where shipowner Niels Werring and his wife, the Mistress of the Robes, Else Werring, were hosts to the many members of the European Royal Families that had gathered to celebrate the wedding of the Norwegian Crown Prince, the second grand royal wedding of the year in Scandinavia, since HRH Princess Benedikte of Denmark had married HH Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittegenstein-Berleburg at Fredensborg Castle, in February.

During the banquet inside the Fortress of Akershus, HM King Olav is seen talking to TM King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark. The grandfather of King Harald, who was the first king of independent Norway, was born Prince Carl of Denmark and only in 1905 he became King Haakon VII. The King of Denmark wears the sash of the Order of St. Olav and on the neck the diamond-incrusted Grand Cross of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog, while Queen Ingrid wears her magnificent diamond and ruby parure.

On the evening, the Government of the Kingdom offered a state banquet in honour of the Crown Prince and Miss Haraldsen in the Castle of Akershus. It was a very glamorous event, where the dress code, accordingly with the good Scandinavian tradition, was of full gala. The 350 guests to the banquet included – apart of the Norwegian Royal Family, Miss Haraldsen’s family and the Government of the Kingdom – the King and Queen of Denmark, Princess Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark, Princess Margaretha of Denmark (the aunt of Prince Harald, widow of Prince Axel of Denmark), Count Flemming and Countess Ruth of Rosenborg and other guests who had already arrived, like the President of Finland and also some members of the Diplomatic Corps.

A very long cortege of official cars brought the guests to the precincts of the Castle, going through a line of soldiers of the King’s Troop, presenting their arms. The Prime Minister, Mr. Per Borten, and wife Magnhild received the guests in the Christian IV’s Hall of the Castle and conducted the guests to both the Romerikssalen (the Romerike Hall) and the Margaretasalen (the Margareta Hall) once the Norwegian Royal Family had arrived. The King and the Crown Prince both wore the sash of the Order of St. Olav, Norway’s highest decoration, while Miss Haraldsen wore a very elegant dress with embroidery, which was covered by a long coat as they arrived, and her hair in a classic and beautiful chignon. In the main table of the banquet, Miss Haraldsen sat between the King and her future husband, the Crown Prince, while he had the Prime Minister on his left. The event marked the beginning of the main official ceremonies that would culminate with the wedding, the following afternoon.

The main table during the State Banquet offered by the Government in the Fortress of Akershus in honour of the Crown Prince and his bride. On the right of the picture, the Norwegian Prime Minister is seen talking with Crown Prince Harald, while Miss Haraldsen, partically hidden by the identification of the table, speaks with King Olav. The banquet was offered in the Romerikssalen and the Margaretasalen of the Castle.

Index Page
Next Page