On Tuesday, Queen Sonja of Norway turned 80-years-old. This was celebrated all day at different locations throughout Norway. The biggest celebration took place at the Royal Palace in Oslo.
The festivities started at noon. At the same time as 21-gun salute, a royal salute was fired from Akershus Fortress, and an entirely new statue was unveiled in the Palace Park. The statue was a gift from the Norwegian Tourist Association to Her Majesty.
Half an hour after the Queen unveiled the statue, she continued to “Queen Sonja’s Art Stable.” This was King Harald’s gift to his wife. The entire Norwegian Royal Family gathered alongside many prominent guests and the Norwegian cultural elite at the opening ceremony. As you can see in the video above, the statue was unveiled together by all of Her Majesty’s grandchildren.
The press was invited to see the new gallery a few hours before the official opening. Royal Central‘s Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen was present and reported that it was a magnificent sight.
“Queen Sonja’s Art Stable” was opened in the old stable buildings located in the Palace Park and has never been accessible to the public before. From now on, the building will be a new arena for art, culture and history in Oslo and is worth a visit by those visiting the city.
It will contain various exhibitions, and this year, the two exhibits are dedicated to Queen Maud of Norway’s photographs and Norwegian graphics. The stable that now houses Queen Sonja’s galleries was completed in 1848 and was used as a stable for the royal horses until 1940.
Many Norwegian artists have donated graphic works to the stable as their gift to the Queen. This has created a unique diversity that can not be seen elsewhere in Norway. In total, donations from 164 Norwegian artists make out the new exhibition.
The collection and exhibition of Queen Maud’s photographs are the official gifts to the Queen from the Norwegian government. Like Queen Sonja, King Harald’s grandmother, Queen Maud, was also a dedicated photographer. There are many photographs, that have never been shown before, which will be exhibited in this exhibition.
After the opening of the art gallery, there was a picnic in the Queen’s Park, which is the private part of the Palace Park. This area is open to visitors and tourists at daytime during the summer and is the part of the park used by the Norwegian Royal Family for picnics, garden parties and other events.
In the Royal Palace, a congratulatory protocol was arranged and from 13:00 to 15:00, everyone who wanted to enter the Palace could write down their congratulations to Her Majesty. As with King Harald’s birthday in February, the queue was long; several thousand met to congratulate the Queen on her birthday. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly and ambassadors wrote their congratulations in the protocol.
The day ended with a private celebration at the Bygdøy Estate, right outside Oslo’s city centre.