The Monarchy

Photo: Cathrine Wessel, Det Kongelige Hoff

18/11/2009 // The tradition of Norwegian kingship in various forms extends back more than a thousand years. Norway was part of a union with Denmark from 1381 to 1814 and then with Sweden from 1814 until 1905, when it once more became independent under Haakon VII of Norway.

His Majesty The King
His Majesty King Harald V was born on 21 February 1937 at his parents’ home, the country estate of Skaugum near Oslo. The only son of Crown Prince Olav (subsequently King Olav V) and Crown Princess Märtha, he was the first prince born in Norway for 567 years. Prince Harald’s two older sisters, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid, were born in 1930 and 1932, respectively, but at the time only males could succeed to throne. Prince Harald’s childhood in Norway was peaceful until the outbreak of WWII. When Nazi forces invaded Norway on 9 April 1940, he escaped to Sweden with his mother and sisters, and spent the duration of the war in the USA. He returned to Norway in 1945.

After completing his upper secondary school education, Prince Harald entered the Norwegian Cavalry Officers’ Training School and went on to finish his military education at the Military Academy in 1959. Prince Harald became Crown Prince on 21 September 1957, when his father became King Olav V. Upon completion of his compulsory military service, the Crown Prince went to Oxford for further study. He attended Oxford from 1960-1962, studying social science, history and economics at Balliol College.

On 29 August 1968, Crown Prince Harald married Miss Sonja Haraldsen from Vinderen in Oslo. The couple had waited nine years for their marriage to be approved. After consultation with the Presidium of the Storting, the parliamentary leaders and the Government, King Olav V gave his permission for the Crown Prince to marry a commoner.

King Harald succeeded to the throne on 17 January 1991, upon the death of his father.
 
Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty Queen Sonja was born on 4 July 1937 in Oslo, daughter of Karl and Dagny (née Ulrichsen) Haraldsen. She completed her upper secondary schooling in 1954, followed by vocational training in dressmaking and tailoring. She then went on to receive a diploma from Ecole Professionelle des Jeunes Filles in Lausanne, Switzerland. She returned to Norway for further studies and received an undergraduate degree (French, English and Art History) from the University of Oslo.

On 29 August 1968, Miss Sonja Haraldsen married Crown Prince Harald in the Oslo Cathedral, and became the Crown Princess of Norway.

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon was born on 20 July 1973 at the National Hospital in Oslo. He was the second child and only son of Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja (subsequently King Harald V and Queen Sonja). At the time of the Prince’s birth, succession to the throne was only through males. Thus, although his sister, Princess Märtha Louise, was two years older, Prince Haakon Magnus was born heir to the throne. The Norwegian Constitution has since been amended, and women may now also inherit the throne. Prince Haakon Magnus was christened in the Palace Chapel on 20 September 1973, and his godparents included the three Scandinavian monarchs: King Olav V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The Prince was confirmed in the Palace Chapel in 1988. Prince Haakon Magnus became Crown Prince Haakon when his father succeeded to the throne on 17 January 1991. On 25 August 2001 the Crown Prince married Miss Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby in a ceremony at the Oslo Cathedral.

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit was born on 19 August 1973, and is the youngest child of Marit Tjessem and Sven Olav Bjarte Høiby. The engagement between His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon and Miss Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was announced on 1 December 2000, and they were married in the Oslo Cathedral on 25 August 2001.

Her Royal Highness The Princess
Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born on 21 January 2004 at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo. The Princess is the daughter of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and is second in line of succession to the Norwegian throne. The Princess was christened on 17 April 2004 in the Palace Chapel in Oslo. Her godparents are His Majesty King Harald V, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Felipe of Asturias, Princess Märtha Louise and Marit Tjessem.

Prince Sverre Magnus
Prince Sverre Magnus was born on 3 December 2005 at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo, and is the son of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. The Prince is third in line of succession to the Norwegian throne, after his father and sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra. The Prince was christened on 4 March 2006 in the Palace Chapel in Oslo.

Princess Märtha Louise
Princess Märtha Louise was born on 22 September 1971 at the National Hospital in Oslo. She was the first-born child and daughter of Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja (subsequently King Harald and Queen Sonja). The Princess is named Märtha after her father’s mother, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, and Louise after her great-great-grandmother, Queen Louise of Denmark, the daughter of Carl XV of Sweden and mother of Haakon VII of Norway. Until the Constitution was amended, succession to the Norwegian throne was only through males. Thus, the Princess’ brother, Prince Haakon Magnus (subsequently Crown Prince Haakon), although two years younger, is designated heir to the throne.

Princess Märtha Louise was married to author Ari Behn, from Moss, Norway, in the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 24 May 2002. The couple have three daughters. Maud Angelica Behn was born at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo on 29 April 2003, Leah Isadora  Behn was born at Bloksberg in Hankø on 8 April 2005, and Emma Tallulah Behn was born in Lommedalen on 29 September 2008.


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