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The King and Queen 80th anniversary: The Queen's speech

Speech given by Her Majesty The Queen at the conclusion of the gala dinner celebrating the 80th anniversary of The King and Queen.

Your Majesties,
Your Royal Highnesses,

Dear friends and family,

What an evening!
If I had known it was going to be this fun, I would have liked to turn 80 a long time ago! But to be quite frank: Just like my husband, I don’t feel like 80 at all.

The Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has helped me describe why in his famous novel “Love in the Time of Cholera”:

He writes:

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”

To me, that explains it beautifully! Isn’t this true to all of us..?

And I would like to add an aspect that my husband always reminds me of: The importance of playing, of having fun! 

When we where in South Africa in February, the two of us suddenly found ourselves in quite a rare situation: We were sitting quietly next to each other – for the second day! – reading our books. Then Harald turned to me and said slowly: “Sonja, this is the closest we’ll ever get to retirement.”

I want to thank each and every one of you who have contributed here tonight. Thank you so much for warm words and for great fun!  

You have made this evening unforgettable!

Dear Queen Margrethe, you have been a vital support all since I became part of this family. In addition to being an invaluable adviser, you are a close friend with whom I share common interests like nature and the arts. Thank you so much for all our walks and talks, and for your ability to discover comic aspects on special occations!

I feel deeply privileged to be able to share this celebration with you all tonight.

I want to thank Haakon and Märtha, Mette and Ari – and all our wonderful grandchildren, for a relationship based on trust, love and respect.

Nothing matters more at this stage in life – feeling that we belong together and that we can enjoy each other’s company across generations.

I want to thank Haakon and Mette in a very special way. Thank you for the strength we feel by working together, by giving each other space, showing each other understanding and support. Thank you for your openness, for discussions, and for fun! 

And dear Märtha, thank you for being who you are. Thank you for being such a couragous person and loving daughter. In difficult periods, your laughter lights up the day and makes us all happy!   

I want to thank the rest of our family, Princess Astrid in particular, and our friends – some of you have been with us for almost 80 years! That is invaluable – and perhaps especially in lives like ours.

Now – we are celebrating birthdays. I have already received my present from my husband. He is known to be a modest man, so he gave me one of his own belongings: A stable, which was already in his possession here on the Palace grounds. The stable will be transformed into a gallery open to the public as Queen Sonja Art Stable, in July. Not that I am not grateful – I really am! In fact, I was completely overwhelmed and deeply touched…

But I decided to give you something in return, my dear Harald. My gift to you is also a house, it is a “stabbur”, a store house, for our chalet Prinsehytta. A store house was in the old days used as a place to keep and preserve food. So when I admire art in the stable, you can admire the victims of your hunting and fishing exhibitions in the store house!    

In closing, I would like to repeat and build on Harald’s call to gratitude for life in his welcoming speech.

Every day is a gift that we should never take for granted.
Every day is an opportunity to do good.
Every day we can be there for our loved ones.
And we can acknowledge those who need to be seen.

Let us take this with us in our everyday lives, wherever we live. Because above all – regardless of roles – we are human beings. People who are meant to support each other.

Thank you – each and every one of you – so much for being here, for sharing this celebration with us! This is truly a night to remember!




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Queen Sonja's speech at the conclusion of the gala dinner celebrating the King and Queen's 80th anniversary (in English). Photo: NRK