Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway began today their anniversary journey in the Norwegian interior. This happens to celebrate the fact that the King and Queen this year will celebrate their 80th birthdays. In May, the official celebration with European royals took place in Oslo where more than 40 royals from all over Europe gathered to celebrate with the Norwegian King and Queen.
King Harald and Queen Sonja arrived at the ruins of Old Hamar Cathedral at half past twelve Sunday morning. They were welcomed by the political leadership in Hedmark, County Governor Sigbjørn Johnsen, Mayor of Hamar Municipality Einar Busterud, Police Chief Johan Brekke and Head of the Museum at Domkirkeodden, Magne Rugsveen. After this, they were presented with flowers from Maja and Sofie, who are both nine-years-old.
The King and Queen participated in the Hamar Medieval Festival, which is organised each year. First, they saw the inside of the ruins of Hamar Cathedral where they had the opportunity to hear a Gregorian song. After this, they were driven by horse and carriage to the festival ground and saw many exciting things. First, they met pilgrims who go on a pilgrimage from Oslo, via Hamar, to Olav the Holy’s grave in Trondheim.
The horse drawn carriage drove on, and they heard a song from a children’s choir. Next, they saw youth perform medieval dances and music from a medieval orchestra. At the quarry tower, the King and Queen saw a spectacular flame show. They also had a look at the Viking ship that the museum owns before they reached the pier at Norway’s largest lake, Mjøsa.
From the pier, they went aboard at the “Skibladner,” an old steamship. Many had met and waved their flags to Their Majesties as the ship carried them away from Hamar. After the visit to Hamar, the journey continued to the Ringsaker municipality and the small town of Tingnes. The first thing the King and Queen observed before they arrived were acrobats hanging down from the Bridge of Things and performed acrobatic stunts.
When King Harald and Queen Sonja arrived at Tingnes, they received flowers of Vilde and Amund, both ten-years-old, before they were officially received by the Mayor of Ringsaker. Then, they saw a small show with music and dance. They heard local music from the region, as well.
After this, they received a gift from the municipality; this was a basket filled with locally produced quality food from the Ringsaker municipality. The basket included bread, potatoes and fish. After that, they tried samples of different dishes from local producers. Before Their Majesties left Tingnes, they unveiled a new statue.
Next, they went on board the steamboat; they spent 45 minutes at Mjøsa and later arrived at Kapp located in Oppland. While the King and Queen were welcomed by the Mayor of Østre Toten, the band played in their honour. A little play was performed, as well, which was part of the Swan Lake ballet. Furthermore, the King and Queen were able to see parts of a local play about the kings of Norway.
After less than an hour by ships at Mjøsa, the King and Queen arrived in Gjøvik. The royal couple received flowers by Tiril and Theodor, both of whom are 11-years-old. In Gjøvik, there was a big party, and many had met up to see the royals. All the inhabitants of the municipality, born in the same year as the King and Queen, in 1937, were invited and were also celebrated together with Their Majesties. The programme was then characterised by classical music and dance. Before the King and Queen went from Gjøvik, everyone was singing the Norwegian birthday song in honour of King Harald and Queen Sonja.
After the visit to Gjøvik, Their Majesties spent two hours by ship on Mjøsa, heading north. The King and Queen arrived at Lillehammer, the largest city in Oppland, early in the evening. There the mayor welcomed them. Then a jubilee concert was held, and the whole city was singing the birthday song for the two. By the end of the day, they saw a 20-minute long cultural programme. After this, the King and Queen left by car to the royal residence on Maihaugen.
The visit to Oppland and Hedmark continues until Wednesday. Today, the King and Queen will visit Gudbrandsdalen where they will receive a theatre performance in the high mountains as a gift.
Royal Central is not present tomorrow but will still have broad coverage of the events. On the last day of the trip, we are back with live coverage from the visit to Odalen and Kongsvinger.