Royalty and statesmen




Prince Willem-Alexander and vivacious Princess Maxima were among the guests attending a gala ball in honour of the Norwegian king on Saturday night
Photo: © AFP
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King Harald's daughter, Martha Louise, paid an emotional tribute to her father at a concert on Friday
Photo: © Rex

Young European royals help King Harald mark his 70th

26 FEBRUARY 2007

Having proved that he's lost none of his youthful zest for life - telling to guests at a mid-week banquet in honour of his 70th birthday, "It's fun to be alive" - it seemed only appropriate that King Harald of Norway was joined by some of Europe's most fun-loving royals for a series of further celebrations at the weekend. Almost 50 royal well-wishers descended on Norway to mark the occasion, and the man at the centre of attention was clearly revelling in the festivities.

Among those helping the royal patriarch celebrate his landmark day was Crown Princess Victoria of Ssweden and her beautiful blonde sister Princess Madeleine, who turned heads at the airport when she jetted in ahead of the event. Other young royals included mums-to-be Mary of Denmark and the Netherlands' Princess Maxima, both of whom showed off burgeoning bumps in flowing gowns donned for a ball at the Royal Palace on Saturday night.

The previous evening King Harald's daughter Princess Martha Louise had helped kick off the weekend's festivities by hosting a concert featuring young Norwegian musicians at Oslo City Hall. At the event the New York-based princess, who was accompanied by her author husband Ari Behn, shed tears as she made a heartfelt speech in honour of her father.

Also enjoying the cultural evening were Martha Louise's brother Crown Prince Haakon and his elegant wife Mette-Marit, who made a stylish entrance in a grey, Grecian-style gown.

Despite all the pomp and ceremony, however, the man of the moment remained down-to-earth about his big day. Turning 70, he said, really wasn't anything to brag about. "If you live long enough, it happens by itself," he quipped. "That's why it's almost difficult to understand why anyone should get so much attention, just because they've lived a few years."

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