1905-2005, July biography: Harald

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Feb 20, 2003
United States
On February 21, 1937, a son was born to Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha. Not only was he second in line to the throne, but he was the first prince born in Norway in 567 years. He joined his sisters Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid at Skaugum in Asker. Thirty-eight days after his birth, his grandmother, Queen Maud, carried him to the christening font at the royal chapel in Oslo; he was given the name Harald, chosen by his grandfather King Haakon Haakon. Prince Harald’s first three years of his life were spent quietly at Skaugum with his family.

1. March 1937: Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha with Prince Harald.
2. March 1937: Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid with Prince Harald.
3. March 31, 1937: Baptism of Prince Harald.
4. February 21, 1938: Prince Harald's first birthday.
5. May 3, 1939: Crown Prince Family at Skaugum.
6. May 3, 1939: Prince Harald at Skaugum.
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His peaceful existence was shattered in April 1940 by the German invasion of Norway. King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav fled to England where they set up a government in exile. At the same time, Crown Princess Märtha took the children to Sweden and eventually to the United States where they lived just outside Washington D.C. until the liberation of Norway in 1945.

1. Märtha with the children in Manhattan prior to moving to Bathesda Maryland.
2. September 1940: At the beach, Harald (3), Astrid (7), Ragnhild (9) and Märtha.
3. December 27, 1940: Crown Prince Olav visits his family in Bethesda, Maryland for the Christmas holidays.
4. December 1942: Princess Astrid, Prince Harald and Princess Ragnhild in a Christmas eve broadcast from their home in Maryland. Their message was short-waved to the underground resistance in Norway.
5. January 1944: Harald skiing in Maryland.
6. September 26, 1944: Harald plays with Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish terrier, Fala, at Laura Delano's home in Rhinebeck, New York. Crown Princess Märtha and her children were also frequent guests of President Roosevelt at the White House.
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Crown Prince Olav was first to return to Norway after the war. Prince Harald returned to Norway with his mother, his sisters and King Haakon on June 7, 1945. The streets were lined with cheering crowds to greet them.

Pictures taken upon the return of King Haakon and his family to Norway on June 7, 1945
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After settling in at Skaugum, Harald started classes in the fall at Smestad Primary School in Asker, a Norwegian state school. He joined in school activities with the other children and no one could tell that a prince was in attendence except for the guard that was posted in the hall.

Harald was involved in various sports and, by the age of ten, he had his own boat. During the summer, he sailed in the Oslo Fjord ragattas in which he was often victorious.

1. February 21, 1946: On his 9th birthday, Prince Harald (left) plays in the snow with his class mates in the Smedstad school yard.
2. September 25, 1946: Harald plays school soccer.
3. February 21, 1947: Harald's 10th birthday.
4. February 1947: Harald skiing at Skaugum.
5. 1947: Harald working on a project.
6. 1947: Harald participates in school sports.
7. July 30, 1948: The Norwegian Royal Family arrives in Britain aboard the royal yacht to see the yachting events at the Olympic games.
8. February 2, 1949: Harald age 12.
9. June 21, 1950: Harald's graduation from Smedstad School.
10. 1950: Harald age 14.
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Harald continued his studies at Katedralskole in Oslo where he received his upper secondary diploma in science in 1955. Like all Norwegian youths, he participated in graduation celebrations known as Russtid. He attended the University of Oslo in the autumn of the same year.

In addition to the typical classes and extracurricular activities that all students participate in, Harald also had his princely duties to fulfill.

1. June 24, 1952: Three genereations - Prince Harald, King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav.
2. 1952: 15-year old Prince Harald.
3. February 10, 1953: Harald is named Mountain Bird and adopted by the Crowe Indian tribe at a ceremony at the US Embassy in Oslo.
4. August 12, 1953: Harald attends Katedralskole.
5. 1953: Harald skiing.
6. February 7, 1955: Harald poses for 18th birthday photo.
7. February 21, 1955: For his 18th birthday, Harald receives a car from the citizens of Norway.
8. 9. May 1955: Russtid.
10. September 5, 1955: Harald at Oslo university.
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After, completing his term at Oslo University, Harald began his military education. He attended the Cavalry Officers' Candidate School at Trandum, until May 1957, then the Norwegian Military Academy until 1959 when he graduated as a lieutenant. Today, he holds the ranks of an Army General, an Air Force General and a Navy Admiral.

While Harald was still at the Academy, his grandfather King Haakon died (September 27, 1957) and Harald automatically became Crown Prince Harald of Norway when his father became King Olav V. As Crown Prince, he attended his first Council of State with King Olav on the day of his grandfather’s death.

On his 21st birthday, according to Norwegian law, Harald came of age and thus could succeed King Olav to the throne and also he could take over the regency in the event that the King was abroad or ill and, in order to fulfill this duty, he took the Oath to the Constitution. Harald also received the Sword of Honour from Court-Intendant Smith Kielland on his 21th birthday for his arrival at majority.

Crown Prince Harald and his sisters, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid attended their father’s enthronement ceremony at Nidaros Cathedral on June 25, 1958, in Trondheim.

1. January 9, 1956: Prince Harald (18) arrives in Denmark to attend Princess Margrethe's (15) first dinner-dance.
2. January 12, 1956: Harald arrives at Trandum Military Camp to start his training.
3. September 24, 1956: Harald at Trandum Military Camp.
4. September 24, 1956: Harald at Trandum Military Camp.
5. May 10, 1957: Harald receives his termination documents from Ove Ulfeldt Gedde at Trandum Military Camp.
6. February 1958: Harald is a cadet at the Norwegian Military Academy.
7. February 21, 1958: Harald receives the Sword of Honour from Court-Intendant Smith Kielland.
8. June 25, 1958: King Olav and Crown Prince Harald leave Nidaros Cathedral in the royal car after King Olav's enthronement blessing.
9. August 28, 1959: Harald graduates from the Norwegian Military Academy and he is pictured with his girlfriend Sonja Haraldsen.
10. February 1, 1960: Harald as a Lieutenant in the Norwegian Army.
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After his graduation from the Military Academy, Harald studied political science, history and economics at Balliol College, Oxford for two years. While attending Balliol, he was an enthusiastic member of the rowing team.

Harald often carried out his royal duties alongside his father, but whether accompanying his father or performing solo engagements, Harald was a skilled ambassador for Norway as he fulfilled his official duties, both at home and abroad. During the summer of 1964, he carried the Norwegian flag at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he and his team participated in the yachting events.

1. October 29, 1960: Harald and his father, King Olav at Balliol College.
2. October 1960: Harald was a member of the Balliol rowing team.
3. 1960 State visit: Queen Sirikit, Princess Astrid, King Olav, CP Harald, King Bhumibol.
4. February 21, 1961: Harald on his 24th birthday.
5. February 21, 1963: Harald on his 26th birthday.
6. May 12, 1964: 27-year old Harald.
7. Summer Olympics 1964: Harald arrives in Tokyo with his teammates.
8. Summer Olympics 1964: Harald is the Norwegian flag bearer.
9. Summer Olympics 1964: Harald as a member of the national team.
10. December 10, 1964: CP Harald and King Olav congratulate Martin Luther King who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
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Even though Harald remained a bachelor into his thirties, a commoner, Miss Sonja Haraldsen, was the focus of his affection. While Harald’s father tried to convince him to marry a lady of royal birth, Harald’s devotion to Sonja remained steadfast. It was not until 1968 that he finally received King Olav’s and the Stortinget’s permission to marry and the engagement was publicly announced on March 19, 1968. The wedding was celebrated at Oslo Cathedral on August 29th 1968, witnessed by several European royals and cheered by thousands of Norwegian well-wishers lining the processional route. Norway rejoiced because Sonja was not only Harald’s wife, but she was also Crown Princess Sonja and Norway had been without a crown princess for fourteen years. After their marriage, the couple lived at Skaugum, the crown prince’s residence.

Harald & Sonja - early pictures

1. March 19, 1968: The engagement of Harald and Sonja is announced.
2. March 21, 1968: A press conference is held at the palace regarding the forthcoming wedding.
3. May 17, 1968: King Olav, Sonja Haraldsen, CP Harald on the Palace balace balcony on National Day.
4. June 18, 1968: A pre-wedding event consisting of Harald and Sonja in the palace garden.
5. August 28, 1968: Harald and Sonja and their guests visit Henie Onstad, a pre-wedding event.
6. August 29, 1968: Harald and Sonja leave Oslo Cathedral after their wedding.
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Harald now had a companion with whom to share his royal duties, however, with the number and type of engagements, they each had to perform several duties alone, both nationally and internationally. As a result, alone and as a team, Harald and Sonja have traveled though most of Norway and they have visited numerous foreign countries. One trip worth mentioning is the 1969 Finnmark tour where Harald and Sonja donned the Sami national costume during the tour.

1. 1968 QEII state visit to Norway: QEII, King Olav, Harald, Sonja.
2. 1968 QEII state visit to Norway: Princess Astrid, Harald, QEII, Prince Philip, King Olav, Sonja.
3. 1968 QEII state visit to Norway: Philip, King Olav, Harald.
4. September 4, 1969: Harald and Sonja in London.
5. 1969: Finnmark tour.
6. to 8. Photo shoot at Skaugum.
9. May 17th: King Olav, Sonja, Harald.
10. January 1970: Harald and Sonja.
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1. to 9. Undated photos of younger Harald and Sonja.
10. July 1971: Harald sailing at Hankø.
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Three years after their marriage and a stillbirth in 1970, Sonja gave birth to their first child, Princess Märtha Louise who was born September 22, 1971 at Rikshospitalet. Then, after another stillbirth in 1972, Prince Haakon Magnus, second in line to throne, was born on July 20, 1973 at Rikshospitalet. Except for the May 17 appearances on the Palace balcony and planned photo shoots at Skaugum, the children were shielded from the press during their infancy. The balcony appearances began at an early age, no doubt, to instill a sense of pride and duty into the young royals.


1. September 22, 1971: Harald explaining how long Märtha Louise was at birth.
2. September 1971: Märtha Louise going home.
3. May 17th 1972: At Skaugum.
4. July 20, 1973: Harald and Sonja with Haakon Magnus.
5. May 17, 1974: Royal Palace balcony.
6. Summer 1974: Part of a photo shoot at Skaugum.
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1. 1974: Harald and Carl Gustav at the world cross country skiing championshio in Falun Sweden.
2. October 10, 1974: Carl Gustav state visit to Norway. Sonja, Harald, Carl Gustav, King Olav, Astrid.
3. October 10, 1974: Carl Gustav state visit to Norway. Sonja, Carl Gustav, Märtha Louise, King Olav, Harald, Haakon, Astrid.
4. May 17, 1975: On the Palace balcony during National Day.
5. June 20, 1975: Harald and Sonja pose during a photo shoot at Skaugum.
6. June 1976: Harald and Sonja attend the pre-wedding gala of Carl Gustav and Silvia Sommerlath.
7. July 1978: Group picture during the festivities for King Olav's 75th birthday celebrations.
8. July 1978: Harald, Sonja, Märtha Louise, Haakon attend King Olav's 75th birthday celebrations.
9. November 27, 1979: Harald and Sonja visit Germany. They are with President Karl and Mrs Veronica Carstens.
10. April 30, 1980: Harald and Sonja attend the celebrations following the coronation of Beatrix of the Netherlands.
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As the 70s and 80s passed, King Olav’s reign continued and Harald remained in his father’s shadow, but he also assisted his father with his royal duties. The children grew under Harald’s guidance and they began to take an active role in some royal events. They sometimes accompanied their parents on domestic tours such as Harald’s and Sonja’s visit to Svalbard Spitsbergen.

1. May 17, 1980: Norway National Day.
2. June 6, 1980: Celebrating 75yrs of the Unrion between Norway and Sweden.
3. 1980: Harald, Sonja, Märtha Louise, Haakon visit Svalbard Spitsbergen.
4. May 17, 1981: Norway National Day.
5.1981: Harald and Sonja in Paris.
6. September 1983: Three generations pose at Skaugum: King Olav, Haakon, Harald.
7. January 1983: Harald and Sonja pose for a photo shoot at Skaugum and are featured in Point de Vue. The cover translates to "Sonja and Harald of Norway 15 years of happiness."
8. May 17, 1983: National Day on the Palace balcony.
9. & 10. May 1983: Harald, Sonja, Märtha Louise, Haakon at Skaugum.
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In 1987, on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, the Norwegian business community gave Harald a new boat, the Fram X. That same summer, he won the world championship with his new yacht.

1. May 1983: Harald, Sonja, Märtha Louise, Haakon at Skaugum.
2. February 1984: Harald and Sonja receive Diane in Oslo.
3 1985: Sonja, Harald, Haakon, Märtha Louise.
4. May 13-15, 1986: Dutch state visit to Norway.
5. January 19, 1987: Picture taken for Harald's 50th birthday (February 21, 1987) Märtha Louise, Harald, Sonja, King Olav, Haakon.
6. & 7. 1987: King Harald and his crew aboard the Fram X, his 50th birthday gift from the Norwegian business community. This is the same boat with which he won the 1987 world championship.
8. May 17, 1987: Norway National Day on the Palace balcony.
9. Summer 1988: At Skaugum.
10. 1989: At Skaugum.
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During King Olav’s illness and recuperation in 1990, Harald, as Crown Prince Regent, oversaw the Council of State and took over some of his father’s responsibilities. Then, upon King Olav’s death on January 17, 1991, Harald ascended to the throne as King Harald V. On January 21, 1991, he took the Oath to the Constitution in the National Assembly of the Stortinget accompanied by Sonja. Like his father and grandfather before him, Harald chose Nidaros Cathedral for his consecration during his enthronement ceremony on June 23, 1991. He also adopted their motto, “All for Norway.”

Funeral of King Olav 1991
King Harald's Enthronement 1991

1. January 21, 1991: Harald takes the Oath to the Constitution in the National Assembly of the Stortinget.
2. January 30, 1991: Märtha Louise, Sonja, Harald, Haakon walk behind King Olav's casket during the funeral procession.
3. & 4. June 23, 1991: The royal family arrive at Nidaros Cathedral for Harald's enthronement.
5. June 23, 1991: Harald's consecration at Nidaros Cathedral.
6. 1991: The royal family visit Arendal.
7. 1991: Harald and Sonja visit Haugesund.
8. 1991: The royal family visit Bømlo.
9. October 2, 1991: Harald, as king, presides over his first opening of the Stortinget.
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In order to set the tone for his reign, Harald and Sonja spent a good portion of the next two years touring the country with the purpose of introducing themselves to the people of Norway. In addition, they made state visits to other nations and, when home in Norway, they received diplomats and royals alike. Now that the torch had been passed to a new generation, King Harald set out to reassure one and all that he was equal to the task and that his rule would be characterized by meeting the rigorous standards set by his father and grandfather.

Harald & Sonja Silver Wedding Anniversary August 1993

1. October 1991: Norway state visit to Denmark.
2. May 1992: Norway state visit to Sweden.
3. June 9, 1992: Harald and Sonja arrive in Denmark to celebrate Margrethe's and Henrik's silver wedding anniversary on June 10, 1992.
4. June 1993: Carl Gustaf's state visit to Norway.
5. July 2, 1993: The royal family remembering King Olav on his birthday at the monument built in his honour.
6 August 7, 1993: Harald and Sonja attend King Baudoin's funeral.
7. August 1993: Harald, Sonja and their guests who attended the week-long silver jubilee celebrations.
8. December 10, 1993: Harald and Sonja attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo Radhuset. Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk were the prize recepients.
9. 1993: Harald and Sonja taking part in a photo shoot.
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Harald was, and remains today, an avid sportsman. As a ski enthusiast, he attends the yearly winter competitions at Holmenkollen, usually accompanied by Sonja and other family members. He aided Lillehammer in being named by the IOC as the host for the 1994 winter Olympics. As the honorary chairman of the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee (LOOC) and as a member of the LOOC's general assembly, he took a personal interest in many of the various activities associated with the games including welcoming both the athletes and the spectators and officially opening the games, all of this without neglecting his official duties. Harald gained a world-wide reputation as an outstanding sailor by winning a number of national and international sailing competitions and by representing Norway several times in the Olympic Games.

1. 1993: Royal family at Holmenkollen.
2. February 10, 1994: Opening ceremony at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
3. February 14, 1994: Martha Louise, Harald, Sonja, Astrid during the Lillehammer Olympics.
4. June 7, 1996: Harald and his crew aboard the Fram XII at the Faeder Regetta in Oslo Harbour.
5. May 28, 1997: Harald and Sonja pose in front of Harald's new yacht, after it was christened Fram XIV.
6. July 31, 1997: The Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup. Harald, aboard his yacht, Fram XIV rounds one of the marks in the first race, in the Solent, off the Isle of Wight.
7. April 11, 1998: Harald skiing at Sikkilsdalen.
8. August 1, 2000: Harald aboard the Fram XIV in Palma de Mallorca.
9. April 14, 2001: Easter holidays at Sikkilsdalen.
10. August 4-7, 2004: Harald competing in the Copa del Rey in Palma de Mallorca aboard the Fram XV.
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On October 30, 1995, when Harald and Sonja visited the United States, they were welcomed by President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House. Harald jokingly remarked that he didn’t need a guide to find his way around the White House since he had played in the halls as a child. He and mother, Crown Princess Märtha, had been frequent guests of President Roosevelt during the war.

While on a state visit to Canada in May 2002, Harald traveled to Muskoka, Ontario, to unveil a plaque to commemorate Norwegian training in Canada on a site that used to be known as “Little Norway.” It was there that exiled Norwegians trained to fight the Germans during World War II.

As a five-year old child, Harald had visited “Little Norway” to unveil a new Fairchild Cornell Trainer aircraft named “Spirit of Norway.” To mark this event, a Fairchild Cornell Trainer used at Little Norway in the 1940s was restored and renamed “Spirit of Little Norway”.

Other state visits and receptions by King Harald:
State Visit to Belgium May 2003
State visit from Poland September 2003
State visit to Brazil October 2003
State visit from Italy September 2004
State visit to Asia October - November 2004
Visit to United Stated February 2005


1. October 30, 1995: Mrs Clinton, Harald, Mr Clinton, Sonja.
2. Left: 1940s, Harald unveiling the Fairchild Cornell Trainer aircraft named “Spirit of Norway.” Right: May 8, 2002, Harald at Muskoka, Ontaro with the restored aircraft "Spirit of Little Norway".
3. Aircraft Spirit of Little Norway.
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Harald has always met a challenge head on. A prime example is the support he gave his children despite some public disapproval regarding their choice of spouse. In 2001, his son, Haakon married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a woman with a controversial past; likewise, in 2002, his daughter Märtha Louise married Ari Behn, a controversial author. However, as time passed, they gained acceptance. Harald has three granddaugthers from these unions, one being a future queen of Norway.

1. August 25, 2001: Wedding of Haakon and Mette-Marit.
2. May 24, 2002: Wedding of Märtha Louise and Ari.
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In December 2003, Harald underwent successful bladder surgery at Oslo’s Rikshospitalet after it was discovered that he had cancer of the bladder. Haakon was regent during Harald’s illness and recuperation.

On April 1, 2005, Harald underwent successful heart surgery at Rikshospitalet. He also had additional surgery to treat a typical complication of this type of surgery. Haakon assumed the regency during Harald’s two-month convalescence. Harald resumed his duties on June 7, 2005, in time to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Union with Sweden.

Harald’s reign continues; he lives with Sonja at the Royal Palace in Olso.

King Harald has to undergo heart surgery
Official visit from Sweden June 10-11, 2005
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not at all he's alive and well
love the pictures
Thanks for a wonderful profile, filled with lots of pictures, Mandy.
Wonderful pictures of a young Harald, a very handsome young man! And nowadays a handsome older man too... :) Thank you for a great profile Mandy!
1. on the day of his christening--March, 1937
2-3. posing with mommy at Skaugum--June, 1937
4-5. posing by himself--June, 1937
6. at Skaugum--May, 1938
7. going for a ride on his perambulator--May, 1938


(pose followed by
successive generations;) )
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8. ready to ski--January, 1939
9. posing in his cowboy suit--October, 1939
10. riding on his horse--October, 1939
11. on his trike--September, 1939
12. posing with his snowman--March, 1940
13. as a young boy, 1946
14. in 1952


Thanks for all the pics!

Pictures from book about Sonja and Harald given out around their wedding:

Harald with his dog in 1946:

Harald starting school, after returning to Norway, 1945:

Harald rowing in Oxford in 1962 (wearing a sweater knitted by Sonja...):

Harald and Olav, at the beginning of Harald's stay at Oxford:
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