5 JULY 2007

There was a right royal do in Norway when the country's popular matriarch Queen Sonja turned 70. Surrounded by her family and joined by fellow Europen royals, the Scandinavian queen celebrated the milestone birthday during a day that combined pomp and circumstance with more down-to-earth touches such as a balloon-filled get-together for small children.

The venue for the festivities was the western city of Stavanger, from where the royal party was due to set out for a cruise along the southern coast. At 10.15am the royal matriarch - vibrant in a poppy red suit - stepped off the family yacht, Norge to be greeted by cheers and music.

Then it was off to the cathedral where Queen Sonja, accompanied by her husband King Harald and their children, Haakon and Martha Louise, received an unusual gift. To the strains of the traditional Norwegian birthday song Hurra For Deg, (Hurrah For You) she was presented with a flowering version of the famous Andy Warhol portrait of her, made up of 6,500 potted plants.

The queen's special day culminated with a glittering banquet on an island across the waters from the city, also attended by representatives from other European ruling houses. Among them were Sweden's Princess Victoria, who turns 30 on July 14, and her parents, Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustaf.

Also on hand to see her blow out the candles was Argentine-born Princess Maxima of the Netherlands - who paid homage to her adopted land in an eye-catching burnt orange gown - and Belgium's Princess Mathilde, stunning in fuchsia. Rounding off the regal guest list were Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The popular Norwegian royal shared her special day with local children at a fun-filled party on WednesdayPhoto: © RexClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Later in the day there was a glittering turn-out as blue-blooded guests from all over Europe took to the royal yachtPhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Sonja's daughter Martha Louise also joined in the celebrations at a get-together for local childrenPhoto: © Getty Images
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