Author Topic: King Harald and Queen Sonja  (Read 93607 times)

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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #75 on: January 15, 2010, 02:51:59 AM »
I've always tried to get a sense of Queen Sonja's background, but with very little success. I know that Norway is a small country and that Sonja grew up when the country was recovering from the war, but I also know that there is a band of old families and families that were titled until Norway did away with titles in the first decade of the 20th century. So there must have been something like a polite society. Would the Haraldsen's have been part of this?

I know that they owned some sort of clothing store, that Harald and Sonja met at a party held by the very rich Johan Sternerson, that Sonja's brother built the apartment building near the palace that her mother lived in, and that the NRF used to holiday at a ski home inherited from Sonja's family. Sonja grew up in Vinderen, which I've heard described as a rather quiet section of Oslo, though I don't know if it's a particularly fashionable or affluent area. There are some things that would indicate her background is quite cushy, and others that indicate it isn't particularly top-drawer. It's been reported that she worked in a pub in England while perfecting her English in her student days; and then the Ecole Professionelle des Jeunes Filles she attended in Lausanne doesn't exactly sound like a finishing school.

My sense is that she comes from a comfortably middle class background, and that it would have been possible for Harald to have taken a Norwegian bride from a more distinguished one. I wonder, for instance, if he would have had an easier time getting permission to marry a Wedel Jarlsberg? (None of this is to say that I think he SHOULD have taken a more upper class girl).

If anyone knows anything more about the Haraldsens, I would very much appreciate having it passed along. It's always been extremely difficult to learn more about them. Ditto the Ferner and Lorenzen families. It's easy to discover that the Hoiby and Behn families, on the other hand, were definitely pretty ordinary, run-of-the-mill working folk.

As a Norwegian, I would say that Queen Sonja's background is upper middle-class, bordering on haute-bourgeoisie simply because Norway doesn't have an aristocracy. She grew up in one of the most affluent areas of Oslo and speaks more "posh" than the King (though that might of course be something she has picked up on the way.) Her immediate ancestors were merchants and further back farmers (which in Norway usually means yeoman farmers, not peasants). They were not officials, "chinovniks", gentry etc., so her background can't really be called patrician. That fact is reflected in her surname Haraldsen, a mere patronymic. (A Danish/German name like Friis, Krogh, Lange, Stoltenberg, Anker, Stang, Hagerup, Munch, Bugge, Arentz, Munthe, Cappelen, Neumann, Heuch, Vogt, Schelderup etc.) would have been more patrician.)

Apart from the formerly comital Wedel-Jarlsbergs there are only a very few, obscure untitled noble families in Norway (e.g. Knagenhjelm, Treschow, Løvenskiold), so it's a rather moot issue whether Harald could have married a Norwegian noble. If he had found himself a Wedel-Jarlsberg or a Løvenskiold (the latter has long been associated with the court and owns a lot of the King's favourite hunting terrain), I think King Olav might have been just as worried that people would see the choice as elitist and dividing public opinion. That's why he would have preferred a foreign (royal) spouse).

In the 19th century there was definitely a polite society in Norway, made up of the state officials (priests, military officers, judges, sheriffs etc.), merchants and a few squires - in short the class that declared Norway independent and drafted the constitution in 1814. (I.e. the long list of patrician families above.) Because most of these state officials lived on state farms (not manors, just big farms) in their country districts they did also constitute a sort of gentry.

In the 20th century this patrician society ended (a significant break came with the introduction of parliamentary government in 1884). In this later industrial period many shipowners got very rich (Norway became a huge shipping power) along with regular factory owners and other capitalists. Prime Minister Christian Michelsen, the "kingmaker of 1905" was one such rich shipowner (his palatial villa is today the royal residence in Bergen), the Lorentzens Princess Ragnhild married into is another shipping family. They would have mixed quite easily with the royal family (King Olav was always a sailing afficionado) and the Haraldsens in the Royal Norwegian Sailing Club. The same goes for Princess Astrid's family the Ferners, who in spite of their foreign and thus somewhat patrician-sounding name, also were just mere merchants. I think the Behns way back also were Danish "chinovniks", but they are nowadays very middle-class. The same middle-class etiquette applies to the Tjessem Høibys, whose farm names reveal their recent yeoman farmer background.

For those not familiar with the term "chinovnik", it's Russian and means a member of the official rankocracy, i.e. the Imperial Table of Ranks. See this thread.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 02:55:41 AM by Tainyi sovetnik »

Offline Lucien

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State Visit from The Netherlands:King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #76 on: January 15, 2010, 04:48:32 AM »
HM King Harald V has invited HM Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands for a State Visit from june 1st till june 3rd 2010.

http://www.kongehuset.no/c28552/artikkel/vis.html?tid=83538&strukt_tid=28552
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #77 on: February 22, 2010, 08:45:03 AM »
HM King Harald turned 73 yesterday and celebrated in Vancouver where he attends the Olympic Games.. :)
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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #78 on: April 13, 2010, 02:05:06 PM »
TM and HRH Crown Princess Mette Marit attended a special remembrance service for the late President of Poland and his wife and all who perished,
at the Trinity church,Oslo.

HRH Crown Princew Haakon didl not attend as he is in the UAE at present.
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #79 on: April 13, 2010, 02:06:53 PM »
President Dmitry Medvedev and Mrs. Svetlana Medvedeva will bring a State Visit to Norway by invitation of HM King Harald V starting this april 26th.
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Offline Lucien

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State Visit from Russia: King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #80 on: April 28, 2010, 03:04:47 AM »
President Dmitry Medvedev and Mrs. Svetlana Medvedeva will bring a State Visit to Norway by invitation of HM King Harald V starting this april 26th.

The President and Mrs.Svetlana Medvedeva arrived in Oslo today:

http://members3.boardhost.com/Oranjes/msg/1272301209.html

courtesy Marianne,GREMB.

Belgapictures:

http://picture.belga.be/belgapicture/editorial/all/coverage/1824772.html?page=1

More on the State Visit:

http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/kongelige/article3624457.ece
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Offline Lucien

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State Visit from Russia: King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #81 on: April 29, 2010, 12:10:20 AM »
President Dmitry Medvedev and Mrs. Svetlana Medvedeva will bring a State Visit to Norway by invitation of HM King Harald V starting this april 26th.

The President and Mrs.Svetlana Medvedeva arrived in Oslo today:

http://members3.boardhost.com/Oranjes/msg/1272301209.html

courtesy Marianne,GREMB.

Belgapictures:

http://picture.belga.be/belgapicture/editorial/all/coverage/1824772.html?page=1

More on the State Visit:

http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/kongelige/article3624457.ece


http://members3.boardhost.com/scandinavia/msg/1272311511.html

courtesy Liza,SRMB.
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #82 on: May 17, 2010, 10:33:01 PM »
Yesterday,may 17th,National Day in Norway

The tribute at Skaugum,residence of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess:

http://www.ppe-agency.com/show.php?zoektype=2&search=17-05-2010%20Skaugum

The children's parade at the Royal Palace,Oslo:

http://www.ppe-agency.com/show.php?zoektype=2&search=17-05-2010%20Norway

courtesy ppe
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #83 on: July 04, 2010, 01:21:51 AM »
HM Queen Sonja celebrates her 73rd birthday today! :)
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US Tour: King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #84 on: September 24, 2010, 09:39:45 AM »
TM King Harald and Queen Sonja are preparing for a 11 day US tour through all US-Norwegian parts of the country in 2011.

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2010/09/23/royals-plan-major-us-tour/

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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #85 on: October 26, 2010, 11:31:29 AM »
TM arrived for a 4 day State Visit in Slowakia today.
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #86 on: December 31, 2010, 02:39:28 AM »
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Offline Lucien

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King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #87 on: January 23, 2011, 03:12:36 AM »
New series of pictures have been released of TM and TRH.


http://www.kongehuset.no/c27262/nyhet/vis.html?tid=89372

 
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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: King Harald and Queen Sonja
« Reply #89 on: January 29, 2011, 05:15:47 AM »
These new portraits are severely criticized in today's paper. E.g. they have a whole gorgeous palace to shoot in and manage to place the Crown Princess in an obscure corner next to a radiator!