Members of the European Royal Houses, family, friends and representatives of official institutions in Norway were at the Royal Palace to celebrate the 80th birthdays of Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja.
“Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”
King Harald opened his welcome speech at the gala dinner this evening with these words. The focus of his speech was gratitude – gratitude for good health, wonderful family and a meaningful life in service. The Queen expressed similar gratitude in her concluding speech as well.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon and Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise gave a joint speech to their parents. The two shared some amusing memories of their happy childhood and expressed their deep gratitude to the birthday celebrants.
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark also gave a speech to the King and Queen. In her speech concluding the gala dinner, Queen Sonja thanked Queen Margrethe, among others, for years of invaluable support and friendship.
The King’s gift to the Queen in honour of her 80th birthday is the renovation of the former stable on the Palace grounds to transform it into the Queen Sonja Art Stable, a gallery that will be opened to the public on Queen Sonja’s birthday on 4 July. The Queen used her speech to tell the King about her gift to him:
“My gift to you is also a house, it is a “stabbur”, a store house, for our chalet Prinsehytta. A store house was in the old days used as a place to keep and preserve food. So when I admire art in the stable, you can admire the victims of your hunting and fishing exhibitions in the store house! ”
The celebration began earlier in the day on the Palace Square. Several thousand people came to watch His Majesty The King’s Guard and the choral group Oslo Soul Children. Acrobats from Nysirkus Bjerke entertained the public from within the crowd. The highlight of the festivities, however, was when the King and Queen came out on the Palace Balcony together with their family and guests.