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The queen of Norway is coming to Minnesota

Queen Sonja will help a Minneapolis church celebrate its centennial, meet the governor and more. 

What do you serve for lunch that’s fit for a queen?

A Minneapolis church hosting Norway’s Queen Sonja this week is going with a menu of smoked lake trout and wild rice salad with veggies and fruit grown in Minnesota. And for dessert? Waffles.

“We thought it would be very nice for the Queen to taste some kinds of local food,” said the Rev. Gunnar Kristiansen, pastor at Mindekirken, also called the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church.

Queen Sonja is set to be in Minnesota from Thursday through Sunday, making stops at the church as well as Northfield’s St. Olaf College and Norway House in Minneapolis — where she’s set to open a new building at the center for Norwegian art and culture. A meeting with Gov. Tim Walz is also on the royal agenda.

At St. Olaf on Friday, Sonja will meet with a group of students and faculty along with the college’s Board of Regents and members of the Norwegian-American Historical Association. The invite-only event will mark her fourth visit to the college.

Born Sonja Haraldsen, she married Crown Prince Harald in 1968 and became queen when he succeeded his father as king of Norway in 1991. Sonja and Harald dated for nine years before their wedding — which took place only after King Olav V gave consent for the Crown Prince to marry a commoner.

Queen Sonja and King Harald, who are both 85, have two children — Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise — and six grandchildren.

Harald isn’t joining his wife this time, but when he and Sonja last visited the Twin Cities in 2011, during a weeklong U.S. tour, they drew crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. During that trip, instead of a church lunch, the pair held a banquet at the Hilton Minneapolis hotel.

This royal visit is a birthday present of sorts for Mindekirken, which was founded in 1922 by Norwegian immigrants hoping to preserve their language through worship. It has been celebrating its centennial with a year of special events.

“This will of course, be the highlight,” Kristiansen said.

Queen Sonja is set to speak during the 11 a.m. Sunday service before the luncheon in the church’s fellowship hall, he said.

The church is one of just two remaining in the U.S. that offers services in Norwegian, said Kristiansen, who is from Bodø, Norway. Most Sundays, they have one service in English and another in Norwegian, but for the Queen’s visit they’re planning a bilingual service, he said.

“We will have a very festive service with a lot of music, young people from the church playing and also two choirs singing,” Kristiansen said.

Sunday’s event is reservation-only and already full, the pastor said. Those hoping for a glimpse of royalty might have more luck at the Queen’s Saturday visit to Norway House.

They are throwing an 11 a.m. outdoor block party that’s open to the public, with food trucks and family activities along with the ribbon-cutting. Tickets aren’t needed, but RSVPs are welcome.

No gowns, though. Organizers suggest dressing appropriately for the weather: “Bunads, Norwegian sweaters and casual autumn attire.”

Source : Star Tribune

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