Thank you to our community member and Norwegian expert Ween for this fun post on Queen Sonja. Read on and enjoy!
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To the surprise of absolutely nobody, I’m writing about Sonja and her favorite color, yellow. Ever since she made her formal debut on the royal scene in 1968, Sonja has been a prolific wearer of the sunshine color. From suit jackets to yellow gold tiaras to opera gloves (but seemingly no jewels – Harald, buddy, if you read this: get your wife some nice canary diamonds), Sonja has worn this with every combination possible. In a category that’s almost impossible to narrow down, I present three choices of yellow that are so very Sonja.
Second Runner Up: Big Bird
There is no dress that is more iconic Sonja than her yellow dress designed by the late Erik Mortensen, affectionately (or not) known around these parts as Big Bird. First worn during her and Harald’s joint 60th birthday party in 1997, this dress has been worn to death and then some. Fun fact: when it made its debut, it had a matching yellow hair ornament!
Pulled out for state visits, royal weddings, and every other event in between, worn with every single tiara in her collection and quite a few state orders, I’m not sure why Sonja loves this dress so much. Maybe she had such a great 60th birthday that she wanted to keep the good memories going. Maybe she loves to show off the fact she can still fit into a dress that’s over 20 years old. Maybe it’s just comfy. Whatever the reason, it’s a dress that has forced its way into icon status.
First Runner Up: 1968 Molstad
Making history as the first Norwegian commoner to not only marry into the royal family, but obtain titles and one day become consort, was a tall order. Sonja couldn’t come into the family without some form of pizzaz, so she entered the pre-wedding reception held at Askerhus Fortress on August 28, 1968 wrapped head to toe in her favorite color.
This yellow dress from Molstad, the same fashion house which designed the wedding dress she would wear the following day, comes with a matching yellow floor-length coat, mustard opera gloves, and a removable beaded orange and pink overlay. The dress was worn during formal portraits released in 1969, the British State Visit that same year, and continued to be worn into the mid-1970s. A simple and versatile dress which, in my opinion, was the perfect debut for a commoner-turned-princess.
Winner: 1989 Birthday Party Dress
With the pleathora of yellow dresses, it’s nigh impossible to figure out which dress is the best dress. Which is why I was just as surprised as you are when I came to my final conclusion that this is my favorite of all of them. Created by an unknown designer, Sonja broke this dress out to celebrate Princess Martha Louise’s 18th birthday at the palace. And ho-ly crap, she brought the big guns (and I’m not just talking about her biceps).
Sonja doesn’t just look good. She looks hot, and she knows it. I’m normally not a fan of 80s fashion, or fashion that steals the show, but this is the exception. It has both the sleek lines of her youth and the ruffles she would come to adore in her later years. It fits her like a glove. It’s one of the few times that the Norwegian Traffic Light (red Order of St. Olav, yellow dress, Queen Josephine’s Emerald Parure) actually works. Notably, this dress was pulled out once and never seen again. Why? Who knows. Maybe it wasn’t considered “queenly” enough. Maybe she decided she just wanted to use it to commemorate the biggest event in her baby girl’s life at that point. Whatever the reason, it certainly did its job in making a big impression.