The pandemic postponed Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s 18th birthday last January, an important event in Norway’s constitutional monarchy, so Norway’s first future reigning queen is being celebrated now instead. Around 200 guests were invited Friday evening to the Royal Palace, where the princess wore an inherited tiara and royal decorations for the first time.
Just after the government celebrated Ingrid Alexandra on Thursday night, her grandparents reciprocated with a gala at the palace the next night. All of her royal godparents gathered for the gala, including Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and King Felipe of Spain. It was the first time European royals could be invited to Oslo since before the pandemic began, and among them was another newly turned 18-year-old who’s also an heir to the throne, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, along with Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. Two younger heirs to the throne attending the party were Princess Estelle of Sweden and Prince Charles of Luxembourg.
It’s a fate that involves both privilege and duty, and can easily inhibit the freedom that most teenagers enjoy. King Harald V and Queen Sonja, who hosted the gala, offered encouragement and comfort: “I have said it many times before, Ingrid,” the monarch told his granddaughter in his toast to her, “but a grandfather is allowed to repeat his most important advice again and again: Be yourself, and rely on the fact that’s enough, always.”
The queen and others also urged Ingrid Alexandra to do things her own way, and assured her she’ll have lots of help when the time comes. The princess herself addressed family members individually, thanking her brothers for being her “security net” and offering hugs “after an extra tough day.” She thanked her grandfather for “evenings on the royal yacht, where we sit and watch sports and cowboy films together,” and thanked Queen Sonja for taking her out on hikes, reading stories and singing good-night songs.
She thanked her mother for being able to “talk together about everything,” and for “lying on the sofa to watch series like ‘Sex and the City,'” while thanking her father “for taking us out skiing and surfing … and staying calm when the rest of us are not.”
Princess Ingrid Alexandra was wearing a gown used by her mother Crown Princess Mette-Marit during a state visit from the Japanese royals in 2005, plus a tiara for the first time, along with new royal decorations. She inherited the tiara from her great-great-grandmother Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, who often lent it to her daughter Crown Princess Martha, who was King Harald’s mother.
The palace reported that the tiara was initially inherited by King Harald’s older sister Princess Ragnhild, who died in 2012. Princess Ingeborg herself wore it for the last time in 1958 at a royal banquet for King Harald when he came of legal age himself and could serve as regent.
It thus seemed to symbolize the royal line of inheritance, in this case also the throne, with Norway’s modern royalty is in its fifth generation since the monarchy was restored in 1905. “It means a lot to me that Princess Ingrid Alexandra has received this tiara,” said the king’s other sister, Princess Astrid, who attended the gala for Ingrid Alexandra Friday evening but in a wheelchair, after falling and breaking her hip last winter.
She described it as “a beautiful tiara” made up of circles of diamonds set in platinum, but “lightweight” when it was first purchased in Paris in 1900. More diamonds and large pearls were set in later. Princess Astrid said that her late sister wanted Ingrid Alexandra to have it, and Princess Ragnhild’s children passed it on to her for her birthday.
Guests at the palace dined on a carrot tartar, followed by asparagus and scallops, halibut and Norwegian strawberries with ice cream. The dancing and mingling was due to stretch beyond midnight.