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Queen Sonja cancels events following Ari Behn’s death

Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

According to the official program for Queen Sonja of Norway, the Queen should have opened a new art exhibition on Thursday of this week. The Queen’s participation in the opening has been announced for several weeks. Now, the Royal Court has removed this planned exhibition opening from the Queen’s calendar. The Queen, therefore, will not attend the opening because of the death of her former son-in-law, Ari Behn who took his own life on Christmas Day.

A great deal of excitement was associated with Thursday’s opening and a large media presence was expected at Her Majesty’s event. It is, therefore, understandable that this was cancelled as Ari Behn is to have his funeral at Oslo Cathedral the following day, on Friday this week.

Her Majesty Queen Sonja should had opened a brand new exhibition on Thursday at the Hennie Onstad Art Centre in Bærum outside Oslo. This would had been special for two different reasons. This would have been the first event any member of the Norwegian Royal Family did in 2020. It was also set to be the first event any member of the Royal Family attended in public after Ari Behn chose to take his own life on Christmas Day.

The exhibition Her Majesty should have opened is a very unique series of graphic works called Picasso Suite 347. Pablo Picasso was active until the very end, and this suite is among his very last hand-signed graphic works. The exhibition consists of 347 graphic magazines and was created during seven very productive months in 1968, “during a seizure of creator rage”.

Ari Behn’s death has put its mark on the entire Royal Family. His Majesty King Harald and Queen Sonja issued a statement shortly after his death. They said: “It is with great sadness that the Queen and I have received the message of Ari Behn’s passing. Ari has been an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him.“

The Swedish Royal Family has also been impacted. Crown Princess Victoria cancelled her entire personal programme and travelled to Oslo to support Princess Märtha Louise and her family.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.