Milestone birthdays round out an eventful year for the Norwegian royals – Royal Central

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  • Post published:December 29, 2023
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Liv Anette Luane, Det kongelige hoff

There were a few milestone birthdays this year in Norway. A future queen finished high school and announced her immediate plans. A princess who found love again finally revealed her plans to wed in 2024, and all the while, we covered the day-to-day of the Norwegian Royal Family this year. Let’s take a look back at their 2023!

The first story we reported on King Harald this year was his breaking a tradition of not attending the ski World Championships—something he, or a member of the Norwegian Royal Family, has done every year for decades. In February, he visited with the Sami People (we later covered a protest by the Sami People outside the Royal Palace) and attended the consecration of a new Bishop of Hamar.

Ahead of his 86th birthday, we remembered the controversial gift he received in 2022; and we covered his birthday here, though we didn’t actually see him out and about (explainer here).

He and Crown Prince Haakon took part in a NATO exercise in March; the wider Royal Family were in attendance at a ski festival; and he also visited Norway’s border with Russia to meet the troops stationed there. In April, he paid tribute to Norway’s veterans and attended the consecration of another bishop—the first woman consecrated in Norway. He also welcomed home a Norwegian ship that had been out on expedition for 20 months.  

The Royal Family gathered to celebrate Easter but only weeks later, King Harald was hospitalised with an infection. We still had hope though, because we also shared that he and Queen Sonja would visit his cousin, Queen Margrethe, in Denmark in June.

In the meantime, Crown Prince Haakon stepped in for his father at Liberation Day celebrations, a ship launch, and for a State Visit from the Italian president. He commented on his father’s health here before undertaking more duties related to the state visit.  

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In mid-May, King Harald was released from the hospital just in time for National Day, which he attended with the wider royal family. He also presented the Abel Prize.

In June, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary took the lead in hosting King Harald and Queen Sonja in Denmark, but they still carved out time to spend with Cousin Daisy.

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In August, the royal couple visited those affected by flooding, and Crown Prince Haakon did so days later. King Harald led the royals as he opened Parliament in October but was soon put on sick leave after testing positive for coronavirus.

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He returned to royal duties in late November and later led the royals in celebrating the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Queen Sonja opened a new art exhibit commemorating 200 years of crafts. We also covered how her love story with King Harald will be the subject of its own television series. In June, she celebrated Norway’s illustrious art history and attended a military parade with her husband.

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Controversy arose when it was revealed that the Queen sold her art. It didn’t seem to last, though, and by September, she was confirmed—alongside other members of the royal family—to be attending King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Golden Jubilee celebrations later that month. A new building at Queen Sonja’s Art Stable was announced in September.

Crown Prince Haakon started the year with a cruise through the fjords in the name of cod research; we then announced that he and Crown Princess Mette-Marit would undertake an official visit to the United Kingdom in March. The couple showed their support for Ukraine in February and announced their plans for a joint 50th birthday celebration in the summer.

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Crown Prince Haakon visited a new business development in February, and then in March, their official visit to the UK began. It started with literature events and included a meeting with the Prince and Princess of Wales. Later, he found himself involved in what many regular folks get stuck in: building and planning permits for house alterations. He also opened a climate festival amidst visits to food producers and climate researchers.

Think the future king might want to bin it all and become an ice cream scooper? He tried his hands at it in April. When he celebrated his birthday in July, he said in an interview exactly what he’d be doing (spoiler: not an ice cream scooper).

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At the end of the month, more details were released about his and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s joint birthday party.

On 20 July, Crown Prince Haakon celebrated his 50th birthday with new portraits. On 19 August, Crown Princess Mette-Marit celebrated her 50th birthday and spoke of duty and hope in a new interview.

Of course, we couldn’t let the celebrations go without some splendour, so we reminisced on their wedding in 2001 as well. The Crown Princess’s bouquet got its own post.

Crown Prince Haakon hosted the Secretary General of the Red Cross and learned about legal aid in October (not for his own legal issues, just in general!). He hosted parliamentarians while King Harald recovered from COVID-19 that month, too.

His regency extended into November, and saw him lead tributes to Norway’s war dead. Also in November: an official visit to Germany. He was alone for the first part before Crown Princess Mette-Marit joined him.  

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Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s health continued to be a major factor in her life this year. She and her husband celebrated the Scouts in March, but she had to pull out of events in April. In May, she was joined by her pet dog for a literary engagement and visited one of Norway’s elite schools to discuss books. In September, sadly, she returned to sick leave. And because she can’t catch a break, Crown Princess Mette-Marit was largely missing from the Norwegian Royal Family’s Christmas celebrations (and official portrait) due to testing positive for COVID-19 in December.

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At the Crown Prince Couple’s joint birthday celebrations, both were celebrated and spoke movingly about the attention they’ve received.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s year started with a goal crossed off her bucket list: parachuting. She later published a message to her fellow high school graduates in April before graduating in June.

After her graduation, the Norwegian Royal Court announced her future plans: she spent the fall working as a school assistant and from January 2024 would spend a year with the military.

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The future queen also turned into an interviewer when she spoke with her younger brother on his 18th birthday…

And with Prince Sverre Magnus celebrating his 18th birthday in December (which we covered here), we wondered at the beginning of the year what it must be like for the Crown Prince Couple to have a houseful of teenagers.

Photo: Dusan Reljin, The Royal Court

His father revealed in a birthday interview that Prince Sverre Magnus will be expected to make his own way as there’s no role for him like his older sister.

Princess Märtha Louise started the year by postponing her wedding to Durek Verrett (don’t worry, they’d announce a date later in the year: ). Then Durek began talking to the media again. Princess Märtha Louise criticised the media and blamed them for her ex-husband’s death. Her brother spoke out about the controversy, which we covered here.

In April, Princess Märtha Louise and Durek moved back to Norway permanently and in September they announced their plans to marry on 31 August 2024. Mark your calendars, here’s where the ceremony’s taking place!

Elsewhere, with King Charles III’s coronation on everyone’s minds, we covered the close relations between the United Kingdom and Norway, starting with the time Queen Elizabeth II stepped on King Olav’s foot in 1963. Princess Astrid reflected on the 1953 coronation;

We also looked at the Norwegian line of succession—the shortest succession line in Europe. When Prince Christian of Denmark celebrated his 18th birthday in October, King Harald made him a Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav, and we explored what that means here.

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