21 February 2012 - King Harald V and Queen Sonja 75 years

They were both born on a Sunday in 1937, he as a prince and she as a commoner from the west of Oslo. Today they are the focal point of a large royal family. They were Crown Prince and Princess for 23 years and have been King and Queen of Norway for 21 years. King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrate their 75th birthdays this year.

NK 1808
NK 1809

The first “close encounter” between Harald and Sonja Haraldsen took place in summer 1950. Sonja was on a sailing course at Hankø when, one day, a boy suddenly came up behind her and pulled her scarf. Sonja turned round, annoyed, and discovered that the culprit was Prince Harald. Nine years later they met again at a party given by a mutual friend. Harald was now the Crown Prince.

His next move was to invite Sonja to the Military Academy graduation ball. Not long afterwards she also attended his graduation ceremony at Akershus Castle. After the ceremony she stood out on the castle courtyard looking at his certificate with him. Photographer Bjørn Glorvigen caught this moment, giving us one of the first photographs of the couple together.

Rumours began to circulate that the Crown Prince was dating a commoner and that they were having clandestine meetings in the strangest places. In fact they met on the ski slopes, on walks and at the homes of friends. Sometimes they went to the cinema. It was not an easy situation and they had a long wait. In autumn 1967, King Olav raised the question of the Crown Prince’s marriage with the Government and in February 1968 Prime Minister Per Borten replied that the Government would not advise against the King allowing the Crown Prince to contract a civil marriage with Sonja Haraldsen.

Their engagement was announced on 19 March 1968 and they were married on 29 August the same year. The rest is history. As King and Queen, they have fulfilled their official duties in an admirable way. That has helped to consolidate the position of the monarchy in Norway.

NK: 1808-1809
Date of issue: 21 February 2012
Values and subjects: kr 9.50: Queen Sonja Kr 13.00: King Harald V
Photo: King Harald: Sølve Sundsbø/The Royal Palace. Queen Sonja: Lise Åserud/Scanpix
Design: Sverre Morken
Method of printing: Recess/offset
Printing house: Joh. Enschedé Security Print