Märtha Louise and Ari Behn to divorce – translation of official press release

Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn have decided to leave each other. (press release in Norwegian here)

Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn got married in Nidarosdomen in Trondheim on May 24th, 2002. They have Maud Angelica Behn, born 29. April 2003, Leah Isadora Behn, born 8. April 2005, and Emma Tallulah Behn, born 29. September 2008, together. The parents will have joint custody, and the children will still attend the same schools.

The princess will remain living in Lommedalen. The Princess will also keep the family property “Bloksbjerg” at Hankø. Both of the properties were, and are, under her separate ownership. Ari Behn will find a place to live close by the children.

The princess says: “Life doesn’t always go the way you plan. Both Ari and I have experienced this. But it is even more visible now, when life have done some turnabouts we couldn’t have imagined. We are separating. We are ending our marriage, but staying joint together in parenting our daughters.

It is incredibly sad for both of us to discover that the road ahead isn’t moving the way it used to. We have, as many others, grown apart – to places where we don’t meet as we used to. It is horrible to discover that there isn’t more to do about it. That we have tried everything, over a long period of time, and we still cannot meet where we used to, makes it impossible for us to go on.

We feel guilty because we cannot keep making the safe harbour our children deserve. But we hope and believe that we can retain our friendship through whatever lies ahead.

We ask and hope that we can have calm in this vulnerable process. Our children need time to digest, mourn and find new footing – each and every one of them. We are only humans, we too.”

The king and queen says:

“Many people are wounded when a marriage fail. It is hurtful and sad, also for those of us who are surrounding them. We love Ari, and are thankful for everything we as a family have experienced together. We would like to have a good relationship with Ari also in the future. ”

Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn do not wish to give further comments. They ask that the children still can be spared all press attention.

In January 2002 the Princess established her own commercial business, and she takes hand of it herself. The princess did, at the same time, renounce her HRH-title. Today she owns and runs the company Soulspring with Elisabeth Nordeng.

Birkebeiner ski race

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Prince Frederik will both be skiing the Birkebeiner race this Saturday – so of course the newspaper have titled it the duel of the Crown Princes.

The Birkebeiner ski race is 54 km long, and goes from Rena to Lillehammer. It commemorates the rescue in 1206 of the young Håkon Håkonsson – the heir to the Norwegian throne, according to the Birkebeiner faction. The rescue went on skis from Lillehammer to Østerdalen, as two warriors carried the young prince on his way to safety. To further symbolise the event, all the skiers will carry a backpack weighing 3.5 kgs, about the same as someone the age of the prince would have weighed.

A baby boy for Victoria and Daniel

Victoria had her second child, a boy, at Karolinska hospital in Stockholm at 8.28 PM today March 2. According to Prince Daniel at the press conference, it happened very quickly. They did not know in advance that it would be a boy. Princess Estelle hasn’t been told that she is a big sister yet, as she had gone to bed when her parents departed for the hospital.

The King and Queen now have two each of granddaughters and grandsons, and the child expected in April by their son and daughter-in-law will tip the balance.

The name will be announced tomorrow in the council of state.

Anyone have any nice suggestion for a royal Swedish boy’s names?

The King is called: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus.

Prince Daniel’s full name is Olof Daniel.

His father is named Olle Gunnar. 

Prince Carl Philip’s full name is Carl Philip Edmund Bertil.

Prince Nicolas was called: Nicolas Paul Gustaf (so, original first name, and grandfathers.)


Princess Estelle’s name does also contain the names of her two grandmothers, Silvia and Ewa. So I think that we might very likely see at least either one of Carl Gustaf’s names and either one of Olle Westling’s names in the mix. I am hoping, for the sake of alliteration that they will go with Gustaf and Gunnar. 😀

I am liking the Swedish prince name Eugen, which I think would work well with Estelle, but they are probably bringing this one out of left field like they did with her name.

King Olav’s grandchildren remember him

It recently was 25 years since King Olav passed away. Almost all of his grandchildren* gathered at Skaugum to share some of their memories of him. NRK has the video here.

It is kind of an awkward video setting, but there are some great stories shared. How he was different with his grandchildren – Haakon and Märtha Louise got treated more formally as they were Prince and Princess, whereas the other grandchildren got to stay in jeans when they visited him. (To the shock of Princess Astrid.) And when they were heading out to a party (after they were confirmed), he would give them a bottle of wine to bring with to the party.

The Ferner siblings had the greatest stories, because they are older than Haakon and Märtha Louise and lived closer than Haakon Lorentzen and Ingeborg Lorentzen. One of them told a story when she was Christmas shopping with King Olav in London (as he would do every year.) and it included a trip to watch Arsenal play. After the match it was seen as a matter of fact that the King (being an honorary member/VIP) would want to visit the team in the dressing room. Only he hadn’t realised what that would involve for his 21 year old granddaughter who was accompanying him, into the dressing room of changing, half-naked/naked football players. It was apparently awkward. (Surely, there is a fiction novel in that premise somewhere…)

Also when Queen Elizabeth II visited, Haakon and Märtha Louise had to attend the luncheon, but the other children/teens didn’t. They were scheduled to meet her, but the lunch was delayed, so they were stuck in the hallway and played dressing up with The Queen’s coat, hat and shoes. They were not discovered by the Queen.

I recommend watching, if you can, even if you don’t speak Norwegian, because the interaction between the cousins is really nice.

Subtitles with Google Translate: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Ftv.nrk.no%2Fprogram%2FNNFA41001516%2Fvaar-bestefar-kong-olav&edit-text=&act=url

* Ragnhild Lorentzen Long was not present.

Advent calendar: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a WomanOne of the royal biographies I read this year was Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie.

If you are into history, women in history or royalty, I heartily recommend it. It took me some time to get through after the initial first pages, but that was more due to personal lack of time than the book itself.

I actually think the first parts of the book is the best – when Catherine leaves her home and family to travel to Russia to marry a young man she hasn’t seen. Adopting a country that she has never been to, a religion that is foreign to her and also a language that is far beyond what she is used to.

Catherine, and the ups and downs of her life at court, have been, in my opinion, well portrayed by Massie. If you haven’t read it yet, do.

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor

I just finished reading Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor

It is very well written, and I do recommend it. (So far, anyway.) But what strikes me is the notion that with royal biographies (and presumably others) there is a bias towards the subject. Queen Mary is viewed as the perfect royal, albeit maybe a little unfamiliar with her own children. Queen Alexandra, on the other hand, is viewed as not the perfect royal – and too close to her own children, and loving and caring towards her grandchildren.

An interesting contrast.

Victoria expecting second child

The Swedish court announced on Instagram that Crown Princess Victoria is expecting her second child – due in March.


The announcement comes after news media and others have speculated over the summer that the Crown Princess might be expecting another child. However, such speculations have come before without confirmations… it is therefore interesting that they are true this time around.

Review: Kongens hus : Alle kongeparets hjem

Kongens hus : Alle kongeparets hjem by Queen Sonja

I picked this up at the library, after I saw it exhibited at the Open Palace tour in Oslo. It is a beautiful book filled with photographs and interesting text about all the residences that the King and Queen inhabit.

The book is worth looking through for the photographs alone. How the interior is decorated, and not just the public rooms. The pictures of the private apartments are filled with the Queen’s art and the King’s sailing trophies. The pictures of Queen Sonja’s art on the walls remind me of the pictures of the art in the renovated palace in Copenhagen.

Also, pictures of the holiday residences are shared. Some of the places are rarely seen inside by the public.

In addition, if you read Norwegian – the snippets the Queen shares for each residence makes the book worth reading. There is not much new information, but it is well written and makes the book.

Her perfectionism is shown through the story of her sleeping in every bedroom in the palace prior to the renovation so she would know exactly what needed to be done. The only negative is the lack of comments on the uproar on the cost of the renovation.

Her stories are supplemented by facts from the architect Thomas Thiis-Evensen and art historian Ole Rikard Høisæther.

Well worth the read.


Haakon & Maud

Grrr… Just finished reading this Norwegian series of books – allegedly about King Haakon and Queen Maud. It was meant to be a two volume series.

In reality, the author was given (almost) free access to a whole lot of royal archives of letters, diaries and other documents (in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and the UK – among others), and went a bit nuts.

In reality, it is now six volumes – and the majority of volume six deals with how the Norwegian government in Norway during WWII. Wait… No… that’s inaccurate. It goes from May to September 1940.

He is writing another volume (at least) for the rest of the war and the post-war years.

In general, the writing is good, and the royal letters and thoughts are interesting. But there is just too much information that maybe could have been cut, because it is generally known, redundant or not relevant for the biography on Haakon and Maud.

For example the half-page biography on Hitler.

Or the extreme repetition of the telling of the murders of the tsar and his family, in all their blood and gore. Which, in itself, is relevant to the story, but not in the extreme overload that is shared.

And the same goes for the volume detailing about half of 1940.

Also, the theory that Olav was not the son of Haakon – but the son of the royal doctor is in, but the theory that the sister of Carl/Haakon/Charles had a child out of wedlock is dismissed.

The six books that have been published so far could very well have been edited down to four. Maybe five with a generous editor. But as it is, it has transcended from being a biography about Haakon and Maud into a never-ending story about everything and the kitchen sink (almost.)

If you do read Norwegian, I recommend it – it is by Tor Bomann-Larsen, (who also wrote the cutest children’s book about when the royal family learnt to ski.) and it has won a lot of awards. It is well written. It just, in my opinion, should have been edited down a bit.

Review: Madeleine : Prinsessan privat

Madeleine : Prinsessan privat by Johan T Lindwall
I’m not sure I will ever get used to the Swedish royal reporters’ way of writing biographies. First of all – there is too much inference of what the persons in this book were thinking about specific events. Another reviewer said that a problem with it is that with Johan T. Lindwall you never quite know what are the facts, what are the rumours and what is pure speculation, and I thought *that’s it*: that is my basic problem with the book. There are no citations or footnotes at the end, so you can tell when he is working from the facts from interviews, or other books. Obviously, he also has to protect his sources, and when the sources are the main persons themselves, he is diligent about reporting who said what.  It does however, resort in a slight muddle when you hear about “Queen Silvia thought…” and the people in the room with Queen Silvia at the time were just family… and none of whom are being quoted as the person talking to Lindwall.
Continue reading “Review: Madeleine : Prinsessan privat”

Girl for Kate and William (and Charles)

Grandfather Charles got the granddaughter he told people he was hoping for. (And the 7 of you who guessed it would be a girl in the poll were right.)

Anyone have any nice suggestions for names for a girl? I think there are so many pretty names in the historic English/Scottish/British royal history, and I hope they use some of them.

Other royal births that took place on this date:
1458 – Eleanor of Viseu (d. 1525)
1729 – Catherine the Great, (d. 1796)
1896 – Helen of Greece and Denmark (d. 1982)
1975 – Nathalie, Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

May 2. was the wedding day of Léopold of Saxe-Coburg and Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales in 1816.

Mette-Marit takes the literary train out on the tracks again

May 26 and 27, the Norwegian court announced, Crown Princess Mette-Marit will make another literary train journey. It is a follow-up to the literary train ride she took last year.

Like last year, they have transformed the royal rail carriage into a library. This time the train will go from Trondheim to Hamar, and make stops on Oppdal, Ringebu and Lillehammer. At Lillehammer, the Crown Princess will open the Norwegian Literature Festival.

This time she is collaborating with the local libraries at the stops, and authors have also been invited along. Two authors will be traveling along the train – Tore Renberg and Harald Rosenløw Eeg.

Other authors and literature critics will participate along the way on the stops.

At the Norwegian Literature Festival at Lillehammer the Crown Princess will, in addition to do the official opening, have a literary salon with two Norwegian authors.

The journey ends at Hamar.


Catholic private school for Prince Henrik of Denmark

Before Easter the Danish court sent out the following announcement:


Their Royal Highnesses Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s son, His Highness Prince Henrik, starts school in August 2015 at Sct. Joseph Søstrenes Skole in Ordrup.
Published March 25, 2015


A Catholic private school for Prince Henrik. Honestly, I find it surprising, and yet, very true to expectations at the same time.

BT.  remarked that with this change the royal family is breaking yet another tradition when it comes to education, but one likely possibility it is a much shorter distance  by car (2.2 km) to that school from where they are living now, than to Krebs school (11 km) where Felix attends and Nikolai, Joachim and Crown Prince Frederik attended. It is also a much shorter distance to this school than to the one Prince Christian and Princess Isabella attends (5.6 km).

Of course, it is only 1 km to the local public school… so Joachim’s desire for exclusitivity and Marie’s Catholic background probably firmly joined together on the choice of school.

The surprising thing is that Ekstrabladet did not comment anything negative about the fact that it is a Catholic school, or anything negative about the choice at all, immediately at least..


Book review Mary and Frederik 10 years

ItemImage.aspxI picked this up in October when I was in Denmark.

It’s a nice book filled with lots of nice pictures.

It details how they met, their wedding, the children, and their work over the past ten years.

If you have followed them for the past ten years, there is next to little new.

If you haven’t, or am new to royal watching, the book gives a nice overview.

Another review comments on how the book tries to show their everyday life. The down-to-earth of making breakfast for the children, and picking them up at daycare, but gloss over the details that doesn’t necessarily show the family off as the down-to-earth Danes that just happen to live in multiple palaces – such as the nannies.

Overall, the writing gets a bit sugar-sweet, but as an overview it is a decent enough book.


Interview with Crown Prince Haakon in Magasinet

Yesterday there was an interview with Crown Prince Haakon in Magasinet. The interview was done while he was in East Timor with UNDP.

Some translated outtakes, as it is a lengthy interview. There is a lot of discussion on the Millennium Development Goals, the UNDP and the trip in general.

Continue reading “Interview with Crown Prince Haakon in Magasinet”

The Hardanger bunad and the Norwegian royals

bunad1893The Hardanger bunad is probably the national costume that has the longest association with the Norwegian royal family. Princess Maud of Wales received a costume as a present from the city of Bergen in 1893, when she visited the area. The photograph was later turned into postcards.

(An article in Bergens Tidende from 1906 says that the Queen also received a Hardanger bunad from the women of Odda, and wore it, when she and the King visited Odda after the coronation in 1906.)

Queen Maud’s Hardangerbunad joined the exhibition of her clothing (Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway’s Wardrobe 1896 – 1938) at the V&A Museum in 2005-2006.

Around the time of the Norwegian independence the Hardanger bunad was considered more of a national than a regional costume, and wearing it was a political statement. It was called Nasjonalen (The national.)

Princess Astrid received a Hardanger bunad in October 1959 from Ungdomslaget i Hardanger. She has worn it on multiple occasions, among others, when her son Alexander Ferner got married, and on a centenary celebratory service in Holmenkollen chapel.  (on page 6 in Risbladet.)

Crown Princess Mette-Marit received a Hardanger bunad as a wedding present from the Hardanger council in 2001. She wore the bunad on the county visit to Hordaland in 2002.

Her maternal grandmother came from the farm Fosso by Kvam in Hardanger. Mette-Marit last visited the farm when she was 6 years old, and remembered playing with the goats there.

Mette-Marit has frequently worn the Hardanger bunad since she first got it, lastly for the 2014 Christmas photo shoot at the palace (and the photoshoot the year before that.) On the service marking the centenary of the coronation of Haakon and Maud in 1906, Mette-Marit also wore the Hardanger bunad.

She also wore it when greeting the Children’s parade on May 17 2003 at Skaugum, in 2006in 2010, and on May 17th, 2014 on the palace balcony for marking the bicentenary of the constitution.