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The royal matriarch gets into the spirit of celebrations to mark her birthday by taking a turn with a local resident in traditional costume
Photo: © Getty Images
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At one point along the journey guests were treated to a historical re-enactment of a Viking voyage, complete with costumed rowers
Photo: © Rex

Princess Maxima and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden found themselves getting caught up in the general air of excitement during the festivities
Photo: © Rex

Celebrations to mark Queen Sonja's 70th continue with gusto

6 JULY 2007

Challenged to put on a display of Norwegian hospitality for Queen Sonja's 70th birthday, the monarch's family continued to come up trumps. After a spectacular gala dinner in a botanical garden on Wednesday night representatives from Europe's ruling houses were treated to a whole new set of entertainment the following day as they resumed a birthday cruise along Norway's southern shore.

Aristocratic guests - among them Princess Maxima of the Netherlands' and Crown Princess Mathilde and Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium - were invited to join the festivities marking the opening of a new canal. The event, in the town of Spangereid, just down the coast from Stavanger where the cruise started, featured the arrival of a Viking longboat with oarsmen in historical dress.

Several of the usually poised princesses clearly got caught up in the laidback atmosphere of the activities. Maxima was pictured sharing an animated conversation with Princess Victoria of Sweden and then joking with Haakon and his wife and sister. Meanwhile, the older generation, who also joined in the historic re-enactment, were equally enthusiastic, whipping out cameras to record the moment for the family album.

Undoubtedly enjoying the festivities the most was the Queen herself, who, wearing traditional dress, stood up for a dance with a local resident.

The party is due to continue its progress down the coast on the royal yacht, with the trip coming to a close on the island of Tjome, where the family has a summer residence.

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