The Royal Wedding in 1968
Then Crown Prince Harald and Miss Sonja Haraldsen were married in Oslo Cathedral on 29 August 1968, nine years after they had first met.
The couple had been forced to wait such a long time because Crown Prince Haralds wish to marry a commoner – a woman who was not born into European royalty or nobility – was very controversial. It represented a break with traditional practice, and caused widespread debate at the time.
The decision was finally taken to allow the couple to marry and the engagement was announced.
The engagement was officially announced on 19 March 1968. The President of the Storting, Mr Bernt Ingvaldsen presented the following message from King Olav to the Storting (Norwegian parliament):
It is with pleasure that I inform you, Mr President and Members of the Storting, that I, after seeking advice from the Prime Minister, members of the Government, you, Mr President, and the parliamentary leaders of the political parties, have today given my consent to my dear son, Crown Prince Harald, to take as his wife Miss Sonja Haraldsen, daughter of the late Mr Karl August Haraldsen and Mrs Dagny Haraldsen née Ulrichsen.
Shortly after the announcement, flags were flown on all public buildings in honour of the news.
The wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony took place at 5:00 pm on 29 August 1968. Oslo was adorned with flags and flowers, and many shop windows displayed photos and the monogram of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Nearly 3 000 soldiers representing all the branches of the armed forces stood shoulder to shoulder, lining the procession route from the Royal Palace to Oslo Cathedral.
The first of the some 850 invited wedding guests began to arrive at Oslo Cathedral at 3:00 pm. The cathedral was decorated with more than 2 500 roses, marguerites, freesias, sweet peas and gladioli. At 4:30 pm the carillon at Oslo City Hall started to play and the procession of 19 automobiles began to make its way from the Palace. Crown Prince Harald rode in one of the first automobiles with his best man, Count Flemming Valdemar of Rosenborg.
The bride entered the church on the arm of King Olav, to the tones of Henry Purcells Trumpet Tune and Air. During the wedding ceremony, the Norwegian Student Choral Society (a mens choir) sang the hymn Herre Gud ditt dyre navn og ære (Our Lord God, Your Precious Name and Honour), and opera singer Ms Aase Nordmo Løvberg sang the hymn Alt står i Guds Faders hånd (Everything Rests in God the Fathers Hand).
The bride and groom exited the cathedral to the strains of J. S. Bachs Prelude in E Major, and were met with jubilation and cheers of congratulations by the large crowds waiting outside. Two 21-gun salutes were fired from Akershus Fortress.
The wedding festivities lasted for three days and were attended by a large number of guests.
The bridal gown
The Crown Princesss simple, classically styled bridal gown had three-quarter length sleeves and a long train, and was decorated with white pearls and embroidery. She wore a long tulle veil and carried a bouquet in shades of white, with white roses, freesias, lilies of the valley and orchids.