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Norway

Moving speeches at a birthday celebration for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit hosted a joint 50th birthday party, welcoming people from all over Norway to a ‘Bakgårdsfest’ at the Royal Palace in Olso.

Queen Sonja welcomed the guests with a speech, telling the crowd that for their 50th birthdays, the Crown Prince Couple had wanted to “use their anniversary year to travel around Norway and visit places, people and environments they appreciate.”

Their backyard party was completely unique to the personalities of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, with Queen Sonja pointing out the surfboards, bicycles and an electric car that had once belonged to Haakon that made up the décor.

Nearly 400 guests were invited from across Norway, including community leaders and other organisational leaders, as well as people that the Crown Prince and Princess have met on their visits around the country and through their work with their patronages and other charities.

The Royal Court announced that 48 tables had been placed in the Slottsgården, the first time there had ever been a backyard party at the palace, and that the menu was entirely Norwegian fare with a birthday cake at each table.

The Queen then spoke directly to her son and daughter-in-law, praising their dedication to their work and their support of the Royal Family. “In our family, we both live and work closely together. The King and I are deeply grateful for the support the Crown Prince couple have for us, and for the confidential relationship between us. We all have our uniqueness, which I feel we respect each other for.”

She continued: “I am impressed by how you “young people” have found your own way, and grateful for everything you mean – both to us in the family, and to all those you meet through your work. Both here in Norway and abroad.

“At the same time as you have worked on important topics such as mental health, youth, entrepreneurship, international development, young people’s desire to read – and now also weaving – you have managed to create a safe, good and open home for the children – and their friends.”

Then Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit made quick speeches. Before telling the audience why celebrating Norway was important to them, Crown Prince Haakon said that the guests “bring back good memories from trips around the country, and you remind us of all the good things we have experienced together over many years.”

Crown Prince Haakon said that “to discover some of what makes Norway truly beautiful to us, we have to get close to the people. Preferably in small places.”

In the lead-up to their birthdays, the Crown Prince and Princess had undertaken regional visits to the various counties in Norway to meet with people and see the beauty of every part of the country. In their speech, they took turns talking about the people they’d met and the places they’d visited.

“Because what is really beautiful about Norway is knowing that we could stand here all evening and tell stories like these,” Crown Prince Haakon said.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit added, “we have been lucky enough to get to know small and large places all over the country and meet people who help make Norway Norway. Who have filled it with life and initiative, perseverance and will, hopes and dreams. People who make our country a good place to live.

“It is enough to just be who you are. And wanting something good around [you].

“It is important to remember for everyone.”

Before ending the evening with a concert by Norwegian singer Dagny—which was the gift from the government—the Norwegian Prime Minister also gave a speech.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre moved the Crown Princess to tears when he told them, “We see how good a team you are for each other and for our country, how happy you are for each other, how much you prioritize the family, the extended family, and how open and honest you are, when life doesn’t run smoothly.”

The Crown Prince and Princess’ birthday celebration fell on their 22nd wedding anniversary and they were joined by their children, Marius, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus, as well as the Crown Princess’s mother, Princess Märtha Louise without her fiancé Durek, and the King and Queen of Norway.

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About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.