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Crown Princess Mette Marit and Princess Martha Louise took out a loan to by artwork of Queen Sonja

Photo: Elin Rønning, The Royal Court

Crown Princess Mette Marit and her sister-in-law Princess Martha Louise of Norway once took out a loan to buy a famous painting of Queen Sonja. The source of this special news is none other than Queen Sonja personally.

This is one of several interesting pieces of information that were published on Wednesday this week when a completely new book about Queen Sonja was published in Norway.

It was originally supposed to be a contribution to a book about the Queen Sonja Print Award Foundation, but the interviews with Queen Sonja soon developed into a whole book that covers far more. Behind the title “Sonja – conversations with the queen”, Queen Sonja talks to author Alf van der Hagen about a wide range of topics from a long life.

Before Sonja became royal, she lived in a wealthy home west of Oslo as the daughter of a businessman Karl August Haraldsen. In the home hung a lot of valuable art by, among others, the Norwegian painters Henrik Sørensen and Hans Fredrik Gude. As a young woman, she was also introduced to the painter Jakob Weidemann, one of the leading Norwegian modernists of his generation. Sonja expresses it herself in the book: “I found Jakob very fascinating!”

Today’s classical modernism, represented by Weidemann, led to her later interest in art. This led Sonja on to American artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and off course Andy Warhol who in 1982 made his famous series of silkscreen prints of the then Crown Princess. The idea was that the then Crown Princess Sonja would only meet Warhol during a visit to New York. It was Warhol’s spontaneous idea that the Crown Princess could be a model, something she happily did. The prints of the then Crown Princess Sonja became very popular and very expensive.

 Some years ago, one of the prints went up for auction. Crown Princess Mette Marit and Princess Louise then secured the artwork, and then chose to take out a loan together to pay for this. According to the Queen herself, it is the case that the two own the artwork together. It hangs for two years in the Crown Prince Couple’s home at the Skaugum Estate before Princess Martha enjoys of it for the next two years.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.