Norwegian Royal family standing on the Palace balcony

Photo credit: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Throughout Norway’s history, the royal family has played a significant role in shaping the country. Think you know everything about the Norwegian royalty? Here are 15 facts about the monarchy that might surprise you.

  1. Queen Sonja hosts a musical competition to showcase new talent every year.
  2. Norway has been ruled by a monarch since 872 — however, for most of its existence, Norway has been united with other countries and has been ruled by the monarchs of those countries. In 1905, Norway and Sweden dissolved and Norway chose its own monarch: King Haakon VII.
  3. The Royal Coat of Arms portrays a golden lion holding a silver axe on a red background.
  4. The Royal Family’s last name is Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
  5. Queen Elizabeth II and King Harald are both great-grandchildren of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.
  6. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will be publishing a book this September.
  7. Queen Sonja and King Harald V met at a party in June 1959.
  8. Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise’s Fund was started in 1972 and awards funds to provide assistance to disabled children in Norway.
  9. In 1905, 79% of Norwegians voted in favor of Norway retaining a monarchy.
  10. The official name of the bodyguards for the Royal Family is The Norwegian Royalty Protection Unit.
  11. Four different flags are flown over the Royal Palace: The Royal Standard, The Standard of the Crown Prince, The State Flag and The National Flag.
  12. In 1991, Queen Sonja became Norway’s first Queen in 53 years.
  13. King Harald opened the former royal stables to the public as a gift to his wife. The Queen Sonja Art Stable is the first royal establishment now permanently open to the public.
  14. The royal family celebrates Christmas at The Royal Lodge in Holmenkollen in Oslo.
  15. Princess Ingrid Alexandra lit the Olympic flame at the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer.

To learn more about the Norwegian monarchy, go to