28 August 2018

Royal Flashback of the Day: King Harald and Queen Sonja's Wedding

It took 9 years for Crown Prince Harald of Norway and Sonja Haraldsen to walk down the aisle, and now the King and Queen are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

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Harald's father, King Olav, and the government had objections to Harald marrying the commoner he met at a party in 1959 instead of making a royal match. So Harald eventually stood up to his father and said that he wouldn't marry anyone if he couldn't marry Sonja - a significant problem since Harald was the sole heir to the throne - and the King gave his consent. The couple finally tied the knot on August 29, 1968. As a show of acceptance and support for Sonja, whose father passed away some years before, King Olav walked her down the aisle. (That's right, the Duchess of Sussex was not the first royal bride to get a helping hand from her father-in-law on her big day.)

Queen Sonja's wedding gown was made by Norwegian brand Molstad & Co. It was a structured silk shape with simple pearl ornamentation on the collar and cuffs, with a long train extending from her shoulders. Although Sonja would soon have access to Norway's biggest tiaras - King Olav was a widower, so then-Crown Princess Sonja stepped right into a role as Norway's first lady - she opted for a simple floral-style headpiece to top her veil.

Sonja's dress is easily identified with the decade in which she married, yet five decades on, one of its closest royal comparisons may be something a little more recent: Queen Máxima's 2002 Valentino wedding gown. Does that make it timeless? Maybe so.

The golden couple isn't having a huge celebration, since the last couple years have seen them celebrate the Silver Jubilee and their 80th birthdays. There are a few things going on, though; they opened Queen Sonja's childhood home - where they spent a lot of time in the years before they could marry - as a museum and recreated a photo from their engagement while they were at it (click through the Instagram gallery above for the original). They'll also have a celebratory church service on their anniversary.