On 29 August 1968, Crown Prince Harald of Norway finally married Sonja Haraldsen. The road to the wedding had been difficult and long.
They had first met in June 1959, but their relationship was kept a secret, and Harald later declared to his father that he would remain unmarried unless he were allowed to marry her. As he was the only male heir at the time, this would have meant extinction. Finally, the two were allowed to marry.
On 18 March 1968, King Olav V, Harald’s father, announced their engagement. The New York Times reported, “Although most Norwegians accepted the engagement, many happily, some expressed disappointment that the Crown Prince had clung to his choice of a commoner. However, as a banker from Bergen expressed it, ‘If it was Sonja or no monarchy at all, then it is Sonja.'”1
And so on that August day in 1968, commoner Sonja became Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Norway. Dr Fridtjov Søiland Birkeli performed the ceremony at Oslo Cathedral. Sonja wore “a white silk gown in a classic A shape with a long train of the same material attached at the shoulders. The high round neck and three-quarter length full sleeves were edged with embroidery of seed pearls and small flowers. She had a long tulle veil and carried a bouquet of flowers.”2 She did not wear a tiara. She was walked down the aisle by King Olav.
Among the royal guests were King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Baudouin, King of the Belgians, and Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg.3 The festivities were to last three days.
Crown Prince Harald succeeded his father as King in 1991. He and Sonja have two children together: Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise. Sonja also had one miscarriage in 1970.4