Throne Chairs of Norway

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King Haakon VII opening the Parliament in 1950. The Throne Chair is seen behind him.
By unknown (1950) 56255 Haakon VII trontalen 1950.jpg
King Haakon VII opening the Parliament in 1950. The Throne Chair is seen behind him.
By unknown (1950)

The Throne Chairs of Norway (Norwegian Bokmål: singular Norges tronstol, plural -stoler; Norwegian Nynorsk: singular Noregs tronstol, plural -stolar) are the physical representations of the Throne of the Kingdom of Norway. One stands in the building of the Parliament in Oslo, the political capital of Norway, where it is used in a political context. The other stands in Trondheim, the religious capital of Norway, where it was used in a religious context. A lesser known is the Throne Chair in the Council Chamber in the Royal Palace. In addition to the Throne Chairs, there are two coronation chairs (Bokmål and Nynorsk: kroningstol), which are also located in Trondheim. Between 1671 and 1814, the Throne Chair of Denmark was de facto also Norway's.

Norwegian language North Germanic language spoken in Norway

Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is the official language. Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a dialect continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional varieties, and some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These Scandinavian languages, together with Faroese and Icelandic as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are hardly mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers, English and German, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era.

Bokmål is an official written standard for the Norwegian language, alongside Nynorsk. Bokmål is the preferred written standard of Norwegian for 85% to 90% of the population in Norway. Unlike for instance the Italian language, there is no nationwide standard or agreement on the pronunciation of Bokmål.

Nynorsk is one of the two written standards of the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. Nynorsk was established in 1929 as one of two state sanctioned fusions of Ivar Aasen's standard Norwegian language (Landsmål) with the Dano-Norwegian written language (Riksmål), the other such fusion being called Bokmål. Nynorsk is a variation which is closer to Landsmål, whereas Bokmål is closer to Riksmål.


The Throne Chair in the Parliament, Oslo

The Throne Chair in 1905, when King Haakon VII took the oath in the Parliament.
By Anders Beer Wilse (1905) 1905 swearing in of Haakon VII.jpg
The Throne Chair in 1905, when King Haakon VII took the oath in the Parliament.
By Anders Beer Wilse (1905)

The Throne Chair was made in 1847 by Wilhelm Heinrich Hoffmann and placed in the Throne Room in the Castle of Oslo (the Royal Palace). Later in the 19th century, the Throne Chair was transferred to the Parliament, where it has been located ever since. It is, especially, used when the King opens the Parliament every year.

Royal Palace, Oslo building in Oslo, Norway

The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III of Norway, who reigned as king of Norway and Sweden. The palace is the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch while the Crown Prince resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo.

The Throne Chair is covered with gold, and the textile is red. These are the colours of the King. On the top of the Chair is the Coat of arms of Norway. The Chair has two crowned lion heads, and the two foremost of the Chair's legs resemble lion paws. A golden lion symbolises the King.

Coat of arms of Norway official insignia of all branches of government in Norway

The coat of arms of Norway is a standing golden lion on a red background, bearing a golden crown and axe with silver blade.

The Throne Chair is 207 centimetres tall and 100 centimetres broad.

Two smaller chairs belong together with the Throne Chair; one for the queen and one for the heir apparent.

The Throne Chair in the Royal Palace, Oslo

In the Council Chamber in the Royal Palace, where the King receives the Government every Friday, the King has an additional throne chair. This was made in the 1840s by Hans Linstow. [1]

Hans Linstow Danish-Norwegian architect

Hans Ditlev Franciscus (Frants) von Linstow was a Danish-born, Norwegian architect, who is by many considered one of the most significant architects in the history of Norway. He is well known to have designed the Royal Palace in Oslo and much of the surrounding park and the street Karl Johans gate.

There is also a slightly smaller chair made in 1997. This belongs to the heir apparent.

The Throne Chair in Trondheim

The Throne Chair in Trondheim was acquired to the coronation of Oscar II and Sophia of Nassau in 1873.

Oscar II of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Oscar II was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death, and the last Bernadotte King of Norway from 1872 until his dethronement in 1905.

Sophia of Nassau Swedish queen

Sophia of Nassau was Queen consort of Sweden and Norway. Sophia was Queen of Sweden for 35 years, longer than anyone before her. She was the longest-serving queen until 2011, when she was surpassed by Queen Silvia. She is also the most recent woman to have been officially Dowager Queen of Sweden.

The Throne Chair was used for the last time during the coronation of Haakon VII and Maud of Wales in 1906.

Haakon VII of Norway King of Norway

Haakon VII, known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was a Danish prince who became the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the union with Sweden. He reigned from November 1905 until his death in September 1957.

Maud of Wales Queen consort of Norway and British princess

Maud of Wales, was Queen of Norway as spouse of King Haakon VII. She was the youngest daughter of the British king Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark. Maud of Wales was the first queen of Norway in over five centuries who was not also queen of Denmark or Sweden.

The Coronation Chairs

The Coronation Chairs in 1906, when Haakon VII and Maud of Wales were crowned in the Cathedral of Nidaros.
By unknown (1906) Kroningen i Trondhjem 1906.jpg
The Coronation Chairs in 1906, when Haakon VII and Maud of Wales were crowned in the Cathedral of Nidaros.
By unknown (1906)

In 1818, [Charles XIV John] used a pair of identical chairs; one as a coronation chair during the ceremony and one as a throne chair when he was crowned. In addition, there was a chair without arms, used by his son and heir apparent, Oscar.

In 1860, however, when [Charles XV of Sweden] and Louise of the Netherlands were crowned, they used the two chairs during the ceremony whilst they, most likely, used Oscar's chair of 1818 as a throne chair when they were crowned.

The 1906 coronation was the last in Norway; in 1908, the provision in the 1814 constitution mandating a coronation was repealed. However, when Olav V became king in 1958, he desired and arranged a "benediction" or blessing ceremony in the Cathedral of Nidaros. In this ceremony, the former coronation chairs were used during the service. The same happened in 1991, when Harald V and Sonja Haraldsen were blessed on their royal office.

Other depictions of the Coronation Chairs:

The Throne Chair in Copenhagen

The unicorn throne (left) and the silver lions in 1841, by Joseph-Desire Court (1841) Christian VIII og Caroline Amalie i salvingsdragt.jpg
The unicorn throne (left) and the silver lions in 1841, by Joseph-Désiré Court (1841)

Even though Norway was formally an independent realm with its own throne during the Dano-Norwegian union, the Throne Chair of Denmark was the de facto Throne Chair of Norway 1671 - 1814, the royal house being the German House of Oldenburg. Made of the horn of unicorns, it was guarded by three lions of silver.

See also

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Dano-Norwegian is a koiné that evolved among the urban elite in Norwegian cities during the later years of the union between the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway (1536/1537–1814). It is from this koiné that Riksmål and Bokmål developed. Bokmål is now the most widely used written standard of contemporary Norwegian.

Monarchy of Norway head of state of Norway

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Crown of Norway crown of the King of Norway; made in Stockholm in 1818 by Olof Wihlborg; consists of a ring carrying 8 gold hoops, with a blue enamel globe and an amethyst cross on top; adorned with amethysts, chrysoprases, a topaz, an alexandrite, and a tourmaline

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Coronations in Europe

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Throne Chair of Denmark

The Throne Chair of Denmark is the physical representation of the Throne of the Kingdom of Denmark and of the Throne of the Kingdom of Norway.


  1. The Royal Court: The Council Chamber