22 FEBRUARY 2007

There was clearly no way the Norwegian royal family was about to let King Harald's milestone anniversary slip by without due celebration. And it seem the sovereign's subjects were just as keen to wish him well, as they have braved freezing temperatures to congratulate him at a series of public engagements to mark his 70th birthday.

The monarch was welcomed by a large group of well-wishers when he attended a special service in his honour in Oslo's Trinity Church. Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit accompanied him to the event, along with Princess Martha Louise, her husband Ari Behn and, of course, Queen Sonja. Once inside the building the king and his loved ones were delighted by an enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday delivered by a local children's choir.

With snow falling thickly in the streets outside, the family then made their way to a local park where Harald unveiled a statue of his late mother, Crown Princess Martha. The evening saw more festivities when everyone donned formal eveningwear for a lavish birthday banquet, hosted by the Norwegian government, at nearby Akershus Castle.

And there was a distinct advantage to the night's chill as it ensured the longevity of an ice sculpture set up outside the royal palace especially for the occasion.

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King Harald (centre) is joined by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his wife Ingrid Schulerud (left), along with Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit before a banquet in the historic Akershus CastlePhoto: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
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Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit brave freezing temperatures in the Norwegian capital as they join the sovereign for his big dayPhoto: © Radial
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Wrapped up warm against the day's snowy weather, Martha-Louise joins the rest of the family for a special service at Oslo's Trinity Church Photo: © Radial