Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway are celebrating their 80th birthdays in 2017, and multiple events will be held across the country to convey congratulatory wishes to the beloved sovereigns. King Harald was born on Feb. 21, 1937; Queen Sonja was born on July 4, 1937. The entire Norwegian Royal Family celebrated the King’s 80th year while on holiday in South Africa earlier this year while many Norwegians celebrated the event back in the homeland.
At noon on the day of the King’s birthday, a 21-gun salute fired from the cannons at Akershus Fortress in Oslo. It’s tradition to have a gun salute from 11 fortresses in Norway for the birthdays of King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Later that afternoon, the Royal Palace opened to the public for all to sign the protocol congratulating the King. After an enormous turnout, long lines forced the Royal Palace to extend its regular visiting hours so all subjects in attendance could sign their congratulations.
The celebrations didn’t end there. They continued through March with “pølsefest” and skiing when the King and his family visited Holmenkollen in Oslo. This yearly tradition is one the Royal Family has done since King Harald’s grandfather, Haakon VII, reigned as King of Norway from 1905-1957. After the King and his family enjoyed boiled sausage in “lompe,” a traditional Norwegian side dish, all those in attendance sang the birthday song for him.
Following the many birthday celebrations, King Harald thanked the Norwegian people for all their well wishes through a press release stating, “His Majesty the King thanks everyone for the many nice gifts and greetings he has received on the occasion of his 80th birthday.”
Coming up in a joint celebration of their 80th birthdays, King Harald and Queen Sonja will travel around Norway this June, stopping through Hamar, Tingnes, Kapp, Gjovik, Lillehammer, Kvamsfjellet, Nord-Odal and Kongsvinger. The King and Queen will also host a garden party for 600 guests at Maihaugen in Lillehammer on June 13.