King Harald and Queen Sonja were once again spending the Christmas holidays this week at their royal timber lodge called Kongsseteren in the hills above Oslo. Their son Crown Prince Haakon and his family were joining them.
The royal family gathered for an annual Christmas photo-taking session at the Royal Palace in Oslo last week before taking off for the holidays. They’re extra long this year, because the official holidays of December 25 and 26 fall on a Thursday and Friday. That means they run into the weekend that’s made even longer by those who also take December 24th off. Christmas Eve is when Norwegians traditionally celebrate with closest family and exchange gifts, instead of on Christmas Day.
Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette Marit and their children were joining the king and queen on Christmas Eve at Kongsseteren this week. They all planned to also attend Christmas Day church services at the nearby Holmenkollen Chapel next to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
This year’s gathering at Kongsseteren will be different, following the death last month of King Harald’s aunt, the Norwegian-born Swedish princess, Kristine Rivelsrud Bernadotte. She was married to the late Swedish Prince Carl Bernadotte, who was King Harald’s late mother’s brother, and both were guests of the Norwegian royals every year at Christmastime.
The king and queen have alternated between spending Christmas with the families of their son and their daughter Princess Martha Louise. This year she and her husband Ari Behn were reportedly having a private celebration with their three daughters and were to attend Christmas Day services at Lommedalen Church in the valley of Lommedalen west of Oslo where they live.