King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway are very busy indeed right now. As you would be when royals from around Europe are joining you for a two day extravaganza to mark the fact you're both turning 80 this year. We're used to major celebrations for major royal birthdays but in a 21st century change of script, this regal bash is being prepared on social media.
Head over to the official Norwegian royal Instagram account and you'll get regular updates on how plans for the parties are going. It's a real must see if you love flowers. Because this is going to be one fragrant party judging by the snaps already shared. All kinds of floral arrangements are being prepared while the gardens are also being planted with special blooms.
Then there's the small matter of the gala dinner for hundreds of guests including many members of European royalty. The official Facebook page currently features a post on preparations for that event with the best silver being polished up ready for the royal guests.
They're going to need a lot of plates. There's a pretty extensive list of royalty attending the banquet being given by the birthday king and queen at the Royal Palace in Oslo on May 9th. Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are flying in from Denmark while Sweden will need a table all of its own as King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia all due to attend. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians will be present as will the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg and the Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess. No wonder they're putting out so many chairs.
More confirmations are expected in the coming hours although we do know that Spain's royal won't be there until the second day of partying. Yep, this is an epic. On May 9th, Norway's royals and their guests are expected to make an appearance on the balcony of the Oslo Palace before heading inside for that gala dinner (rather nice candlesticks will provide atmospheric lighting as you can see above) while on May 10th, there's a mini cruise on the royal yacht (Harald's already made sure it's shipshape) followed by another dinner for all those royals, this time given by the Norwegian government. Presumably, it's elasticated waists for Europe's royals for the following week.
They should all have a good idea of what to expect thanks to the social media preparations going on. These behind palace doors pics on official accounts are becoming increasingly popular with preparations for State Visits shared and most Instagrams adding random pretty pictures of regal gardens and landscapes. But this photo album is the chunkiest so far. Clearly there's a lot of work involved (no making starters in the morning to reheat later for Harald and Sonja) and this spotlight on it allows us to enjoy all the details of this big event. Because, let's face it, come Tuesday evening we'll be staring intently at tiaras and gala gowns and the flowers will be a second thought. Social media is changing the way the royal story is told and in this case, adding layers that make one big event just that bit more special.