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Queen Sonja’s 80th birthday celebrations bring back memories of the children she lost

Not many days from now, more than 40 royals from all over Europe will gather in Oslo to celebrate King Harald and his wife, Queen Sonja. Many good memories will be created during the two days of celebrations. Nevertheless, there are some dramatic moments in the life of the Norwegian royal couple. One of the most tragic stories is of the babies Queen Sonja lost during pregnancy during the years she was Crown Princess of Norway.

Queen Sonja has been open about these events and spoke to the press about it when it happened and several times in the recent years, as well. The events are also well documented in the last biography about the Queen, which was published in 2012.

“I remember all the strange faces that bent over me when I went to the hospital,” Her Majesty said in a television interview in 2016 about losing her babies. “It was horrid,” remarked the Queen.

It was during the night on 2 July 1970, two days before her birthday, when the first miscarriage took place. The Norwegian Royal Family had, just the evening before, celebrated King Olav V’s birthday on board the royal yacht. The ship had anchor up somewhere along the coast of Østfold in southern Norway. Then Crown Princess Sonja woke up suddenly and was in great pain; she called for help but was not heard. She managed to get up and get help herself. The situation was critical, and the Queen lost quite a bit of blood.

A happy Crown Prince Family poses with King Olav V and the King of Sweden at Skaugum in 1974. Photo: Riksarkivet via Wikimedia Commons.

Soon the Crown Princess was taken to a hospital where the doctors quickly found out that she had suffered a miscarriage. She was about half-way through her pregnancy, and sadly, doctors could not save the baby. The 32-year-old Crown Princess had now lost her first child, who was a boy, and heir to the Norwegian throne. All this happened only a few weeks after the Queen’s elder sister chose to take her own life.

The Norwegian press reported the tragedy heavily, and many wondered if the Crown Princess could no longer have children. What would happen to the Norwegian monarchy if she could not secure an heir? Only one year later, Sonja gave birth to Princess Märtha Louise.

The happiness over the birth of the young princess did not last long. The year after Sonja and Harald had their daughter, she suffered a second devastating miscarriage. Like the first time, the doctors explained the incident as an accident. Harald and Sonja had Crown Prince Haakon after another year, in 1973. The gender of the second child, if known, has never been revealed.

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