The Royal Wedding in 1929
Then Crown Prince Olav and Princess Märtha of Sweden were wed in Vor Frelsers church (now Oslo Cathedral) on 21 March 1929. Upon her marriage, Princess Märtha became the Crown Princess of Norway.
Crown Prince Olav and Princess Märtha were cousins and had known each other since childhood. They became secretly engaged during the 1928 Summer Olympic Games in Amsterdam whe
re the Crown Prince was competing for a medal in sailing. The Crown Prince travelled incognito to Stockholm on 13 January 1929, and the engagement was officially announced on 14 January. News of the engagement was very well received, not only because it was clearly a match based on love, but also because it was seen as helping to ease any residual tension following the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden 24 years earlier.
The Princess arrives in Oslo
Princess Märtha arrived in Oslo by train several days before the wedding. During the last part of the journey, the princess rode in her own special train decorated with flags and the couples initials. She was met at Oslo Eastern Railway Station by Crown Prince Olav. The bride-and-groom-to-be rode in a landau drawn by four horses up Karl Johans gate to the Royal Palace, where they greeted their many well-wishers from the Palace balcony.
Oslo had been decorated for the wedding, and many buildings and streets were arrayed with flags and banners. The couple toured the city for three hours, greeting people in the streets. That evening a ball was held at the Palace, and the next evening there was a gala performance at the National Theatre.
The church was adorned in flowers of different shades of white – azaleas, lilacs, tulips, hydrangeas and white lilies – against a backdrop of palms. Several hundred singers from three separate choirs flanked the pipe organ, while 50 military officers stood in salute along the centre aisle.
There were 1 600 invited guests, including numerous relatives and friends on both sides, as well as government officials, foreign diplomats and many prominent citizens.
The bridal gown
Princess Märtha wore a gown of white silver lamé with a four-metre long train, embroidered with lilies and decorated with pearls and sequins. Her veil – which was nearly as long as the train of her dress – was of old Brussels lace, and was held in place with a tiara of orange blossoms topped with a tiny wreath of myrtle. The bouquet was made up of white lilies, later to become known as Märtha lilies.
The wedding ceremony
The ceremony began at 12:00 pm. Crown Prince Olav entered the cathedral accompanied by his best man, the Duke of York, to the tones of Rikard Nordraaks Purpose, played by the cathedral organist, Eyvind Alnæs.
The Crown Prince was followed by the closest members of the Royal families, while the Norwegian Student Choral Society sang Wilhelm Stenhammars Sverige (Sweden). The bride entered the cathedral on the arm of her father. Four pairs of bridesmaids – each comprised of a Norwegian and a Swedish representative – walked behind her hand-in-hand, with Princess Ingrid of Sweden and the Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Mr Fridtjof Nansens daughter Irmelin at the head.
The ceremony was conducted by Bishop Johan Lunde. The congregation sang the hymns Kjærlighet fra Gud (Love from God) and Gud som ljos og gleda sender (God Who Sends Light and Happiness). The ceremony was concluded with the Hallelujah Chorus by Händel.
Two 21-gun salutes were fired from Akershus Fortress. A wedding lunch for 200 guests was held at the Palace after the ceremony.