Military Wiki
Queen Sonja in 2017
Personal details
Born Sonja Haraldsen
July 4, 1937(1937-07-04) (age 85)
Red Cross Clinic, Oslo, Norway
Spouse(s) Harald V of Norway (m. 1968)

Queen Sonja of Norway (born Sonja Haraldsen on 4 July 1937) is the Queen consort of Norway since 17 January 1991 as the wife of King Harald V.[1]

Early life

Sonja was born in 4 July 1937 at Red Cross Clinic in Oslo, the daughter of clothing merchant Karl August Haraldsen (1889–1959)[2] and Dagny Ulrichsen (1896–1994).[1] Her siblings were Haakon Haraldsen (1921–2016),[3][4] Gry Henriksen (1924–1971)[5] and Karl Herman Haraldsen (1929–1936, who died in a boating accident). She grew up at Tuengen Allé 1B in the district of Vinderen in Oslo and completed her lower secondary schooling in 1954. She received a diploma in dressmaking and tailoring at the Oslo Vocational School, and a diploma from École Professionnelle des Jeunes Filles (a finishing school) in Lausanne, Switzerland. There, she studied accounting, fashion design, and social science. She returned to Norway for further studies and received an undergraduate degree (French, English and Art History) from the University of Oslo.[1]

Marriage to Crown Prince Harald

In June 1959, she first met Crown Prince Harald at a party hosted by Johan H. Stenersen. Later in August, the Crown Prince invited her to his graduation ball, where they were photographed together for the first time. They dated for nine years, although their relationship had been kept secret because she was a commoner.[1] The Crown Prince made it clear to his father, King Olav V, that he would remain unmarried for life unless he could marry her.[6] This would in effect have put an end to the rule of his family, and likely to the monarchy in Norway, as Harald was the sole heir to the throne. Faced with having to choose one of his relatives from the Danish Royal Family, the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein or even the Grand Dukes of Oldenburg as his new heir in place of his son, Olav V consulted the government for advice and, as a result, Sonja became engaged to Crown Prince Harald on 19 March 1968. The couple wed on 29 August 1968, at Oslo Domkirke in Oslo. She thus acquired the style of Royal Highness and the title of Crown Princess of Norway.[1]


  • Princess Märtha Louise, born on 22 September 1971 at The National Hospital in Oslo. She married Ari Behn, born on 30 September 1972 (died 2019), on 24 May 2002 (div. 2017). They have 3 daughters:
    • Maud Angelica Behn, born 29 April 2003 at The National Hospital in Oslo
    • Leah Isadora Behn, born 8 April 2005
    • Emma Tallulah Behn, born 29 September 2008
  • Crown Prince Haakon, born on 20 July 1973 at The National Hospital, The Oslo University Hospital in Oslo . He married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, born 19 August 1973, on 25 August 2001. She has a son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby, born on 13 January 1997. They have 2 children:
    • Princess Ingrid Alexandra, born 21 January 2004 at The National Hospital
    • Prince Sverre Magnus, born 3 December 2005 at The National Hospital.

Humanitarian work

In 1972 she was involved in establishing Princess Märtha Louise’s Fund, which provides assistance to disabled children in Norway. She has taken active part in large-scale initiatives to raise funds for international refugees and spent time in the 1970s visiting Vietnamese boat refugees in Malaysia.[1]

From 1987 to 1990, Crown Princess Sonja served as Vice President of the Norwegian Red Cross. She was responsible for the organisation’s international activities. She took part in a Red Cross delegation to Botswana and Zimbabwe in 1989.[1]

Queen Sonja’s School Award was established in 2006 and is awarded to schools who have "demonstrated excellence in its efforts to promote inclusion and equality".[1][7]

Music and the arts

Sonja established the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in 1988. It was originally for pianists, but in 1995 the competition became only for singers. The jury consists of diverse authoritative figures in opera and the winners receive a cash amount and prestigious engagements at Norwegian music institutions.[8][9]

She is a longtime avid photographer and has a keen interest in art.[10] She is a printmaker, and held exhibitions with artists Kjell Nupen and Ørnulf Opdahl in 2011 and 2013.[11] The Queen Sonja Nordic Art Award was established in 2011 with Tiina Kivinen from Finland being the first recipient in 2012. The prize will be awarded every other year.[12]

In 2017, The Queen Sonja Art Stable was opened, a venue which will function as a scene for arts and culture. Together with King Harald, the queen has for decades attempted with establishing a palace museum in Oslo.[13][14]

As queen

Royal Monogram

Following the death of King Olav V on 17 January 1991, Sonja became Norway's first queen consort in 53 years.[1] Queen Sonja accompanied King Harald V when he swore his oath to uphold the Constitution in the Storting on 21 January 1991. It was the first time in 69 years that a Norwegian queen had been present in the Storting. Since his accession, Queen Sonja has accompanied the King to the formal opening of the autumn session of the Storting and the reading of the Speech from the Throne.[1]

In accordance with their own wishes, the King and Queen were consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 23 June 1991.[1] Following the consecration, the King and Queen conducted a 10-day tour of Southern Norway. In 1992, the entire Royal Family conducted a 22-day tour of Norway’s four northernmost counties.[1]

The Queen accompanies the King on official state visits abroad. She acts as the hostess when foreign heads of state officially visit Norway.[1]

In 2005, Queen Sonja became the first queen ever to visit Antarctica.[1] The Queen was there to open the Norwegian Troll research station in the country's Antarctic dependency, Queen Maud Land. The Queen flew in on one of the Royal Norwegian Air Force's C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, landing at Troll Airfield.[1]

In 2017 Queen Sonja was awarded the Trysil-Knut Prize. She is the first woman to ever receive the award.[15]

The Queen was appointed a Rear Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy and a Brigadier in the Norwegian army. She has undergone a basic officer training course and has participated in exercises.[16][17]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Template:Infobox consortstyles

Titles and styles

  • 4 July 1937 – 29 August 1968: Miss Sonja Haraldsen
  • 29 August 1968 – 17 January 1991: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Norway
  • 17 January 1991 – present: Her Majesty The Queen


In 1982 she was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award. In 2007, she received the Holmenkollen medal with Simon Ammann, Frode Estil, Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset, and her husband, King Harald V.

Queen Sonja also received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1994 [18]

National orders

  •  Norway: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of St. Olav °
  •  Norway: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit °
  • Norway The Royal House Centenary Medal °
  • Norway Haakon VIIs Centenary Medal °
  • Norway Olav Vs Commemorative Medal of 30. January 1991 °
  • Norway Olav Vs Jubilee Medal 1957-1982 °
  • Norway Olav Vs Centenary Medal°
  • Norway Harald Vs Jubilee Medal 1991-2016 °
  • Norway Royal Family Order of King Olav V of Norway °
  • Norway Royal Family Order of King Harald V of Norway °
  • Norway Norwegian Red Cross Badge of Honour °
  • Norway The Nansen Medal °
  • Norway Oslo Military Society Badge of Honour in Gold °

Foreign orders

Rem : The mark ° shows the honours mentioned on Queen Sonja's official website page


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 "The Official Website of the Royal House of Norway: Her Majesty Queen Sonja". 
  2. Karl August Haraldsen (b. April 5, 1889 in Solum, Skien, d. March 9, 1959 in Oslo) was a Norwegian clothing trader and department store manager. He was the son of a ship captain, Halvor Haraldsen (1854 - 1931) and wife Josefine Nielsen (1854 - 1939). He was the proprietor and manager of the renowned women's wear store Karl A. Haraldsen AS in Oslo.
  3. Haakon Haraldsen (eldest brother of Queen Sonja) was the father of CEO Karl Otto Haraldsen, himself stepfather of TV personality Pia Haraldsen.
  4. Dronning Sonjas bror, Haakon Haraldsen er død, 95 år gammel. Han gravlegges i Oslo fredag.
  5. Gry Henriksen (elder sister of Queen Sonja) was the mother of Dag Swanstrøm, former CEO of Synnøve Finden.
  6. AquinoReporter, Gabriel (2018-08-15). "Before they were royal: The life of Queen Sonja of Norway" (in en-GB). 
  7. Article from the Norwegian Directorate of Education on Queen Sonja’s School Award (in Norwegian) Retrieved 6 November 2007
  8. Royal House web page on the Queen's areas of special interest Retrieved 6 November 2007
  9. Queen Sonja International Music Competition web page Retrieved 2 September 2009
  10. Jan Thomas Holmlund (27 October 2011): Her er dronning Sonjas egne kunstverk (in Norwegian) Verdens Gang, retrieved 6 July 2013
  11. Lars Elton (6 July 2013): De tre musketêrer (in Norwegian) Verdens Gang, retrieved 6 July 2013
  12. H.M. Dronning Sonjas kunstnerstipend (in Norwegian), retrieved 6 July 2013
  13. Totl, Kjell Arne. "Kongehusekspert Kjell Arne Totland skriver: Gi kongeparet et permanent slottsmuseum" (in nb-NO). 
  14. Moxnes, Agnes (2018-12-27). "På tide med et slottsmuseum" (in nb-NO). 
  15. Dronning Sonja får Trysil-Knut prisen (in Norwegian) [], retrieved 17 May 2018
  16. Video from NRK of Sonja participating in a winter exercise
  17. Article from the Norwegian defence on Royals in the military (Norwegian)
  18. "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". 
  19. "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (in German) (pdf). p. 518. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  20. Belga Pictures, State visit of Norway in Belgium, May 2003, Group photo Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Harald V & Paola Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Albert II & Sonja
  21. "Modtagere af danske dekorationer" (in da). 2017-12-12. 
  22. "Vabariigi President". 
  23. "Vabariigi President". 
  24. Noblesse et Royautés Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (French), State visit of President of Finland in Norway, 2012, Photo Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. Iceland Archived 3 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". 
  28. The Royal Forums, State visit of japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
  29. "Par apbalvošanu ar Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni - Latvijas Vēstnesis" (in lv). 
  30. "Par Atzinības krusta piešķiršanu - Latvijas Vēstnesis" (in lv). 
  31. Lithuanian Presidency Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Lithuanian Orders searching form
  32. Photo of a State visit of Lithuania to Norway, March 2011
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Portuguese presidential website, Orders search form
  34. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  35. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  36. "Noblesse et Royautés" Archived 22 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Guests to Victoria of Sweden's wedding, Photo Archived 8 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.

External links

Norwegian royalty
Title last held by
Maud of Wales
Queen consort of Norway
1991 – present

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