Royal treasures to go on display

King Harald and Queen Sonja will be celebrating their 75th birthdays this year, and the government’s gift is NOK 30 million (USD 5 million) to finance some traveling exhibits of royal treasures collected over the years. Some date back to the arrival of King Harald’s grandfather and his British princess, Maud, in Norway.

Among items going on display is the royal carriage used for King Haakon VII's coronation in Trondheim in 1906. PHOTO: Jan Haug / Det kongelige hoff

They became King Haakon VII and Queen Maud and many of the gifts they received will be included in the series of six exhibits that will display items normally stored away at the Royal Palace and not shown publicly before.

The first exhibit will open February 16 at the Kunstindustrimuseet (Museum of Decorative Arts and Design) in Oslo, featuring items from 100 years of royal travels starting with Haakon and Maud’s arrival in 1905. On display will be gifts received on royal tours, suitcases and travel paraphernalia, gowns and uniforms used during royal visits, jewelry and the royal carriage used for the coronation of Haakon and Maud in 1906.

This massive silver table decoration was a gift to Queen Maud from the women of Oslo (Kristiania) in 1905. It was recently used at a banquet for Members of Parliament at the Royal Palace. PHOTO: Jan Haug / Det kongelige hoff

The second exhibit, called Gavebordet (The Gifts Table), will open in May in Bergen, and feature artwork presented to Haakon and Maud during their first year in Norway. The exhibit will include oil paintings, silver cutlery for 120 guests, also a lavish table decoration presented to Maud by the women of Oslo (then called Kristiania) that’s still used at royal banquets.

A separate exhibit that will open in the autumn and tour the country concentrates on the royal family’s exile during World War II, featuring photos, items they had with them to England and the US and documentation of their triumphant return to Norway in 1945.

Also going on display: The sweater worn by Prince (now King) Harald and the passport he used when the royal family went into exile in 1940. PHOTO: Kjartan Hauglid / Det kongelige hoff

Another photo exhibit with selections from the royal photo archives will tour schools, while two more exhibits will open in 2013, one on royal vehicles from 1905-1940 in Trondheim and another in Tromsø featuring 17 oil paintings given to the Swedish King Oscar II and Queen Sophie on their silver wedding anniversary in 1882, during the union between Norway and Sweden.

Both the current Queen Sonja and King Harald claimed they were pleased with the government’s funding of the exhibits. “It’s very nice to be able to display some of what can be found at the Palace,” King Harald told reporters. “We hope the exhibits will be enjoyed by many.”

He turns 75 on February 21, the queen on July 4. The king’s older sister, Princess Astrid, will celebrate her 80th birthday in February as well, on the 12th. Details haven’t been released but it’s expected there will be some parties at the palace.

King Harald and Queen Sonja will also attend the royal jubilees in Denmark, where Queen Margrethe celebrates 40 years on the throne, and in England, where Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 years as monarch. Queen Sonja will also open an exhibit of her private art collection and some of her own work at the Henie Onstad Museum in Bærum, just west of Oslo, in June.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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