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Queen Sonja’s Surprise Visit

This year has been an important year for the Norwegian royal family since King Harald and Queen Sonja have served 25 years on the throne and it is 25 years since the beloved King Olav passed away. To celebrate the King and Queen the royal castle has held several lectures about royal themes in the castle’s chapel. Among other things, there have been lectures on His Majesty’s bodyguards, how the castle was built and the royal family’s various cars. These lectures have been very popular and tickets have been snapped up within a few hours. All of them are now sold out.

I was lucky to get tickets for a lecture last night, which was about The Royal House’s oldest collections. These collections consist of various furniture, chandeliers and a huge dinnerware set with over 2000 parts. Before the lecture began, Queen Sonja came into the chapel. The Queen’s attendance at the lecture was quite a surprise and guests really got a memory for life. The moment the Queen entered the chapel everybody became silent and everyone turned to look at the Queen and all stood up in respect until the Queen sat down. I was lucky enough to sit just a few rows behind the Queen.

Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

I managed to take this unclear picture of the Queen as she left the chapel. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

The lecture went on for about an hour and gave those who attended a unique view of the castle’s oldest collections. Most of the oldest collections come from the ancient royal estate in Oslo which tragically burned down during WWII. Also, the first Union-King between Norway and Sweden, King Carl Johan brought with him many antiques from France, which are still in the castle’s ownership. King Carl Johan was very fond of art. There were not many who could afford to be an artist in the cold and harsh Norway at the beginning of the 1800s, therefore King Carl Johan ordered several paintings by Norwegian artists and this is a unique collection of Norwegian paintings of high quality.

When the lecture was finished the Queen stood up and gave a short speech in which she thanked the lecturer for an interesting lecture. While the rest of us had to go out of the castle’s northern entrance, we could see the Queen walking up the gold stairs and into the private part of the Royal Norwegian Castle.

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