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.

Have you seen…

King Haakon VII’s ski jacket? It has been stolen from the ski museum in Oslo, straight in open daylight. It also turns out that the security cameras were switched off, both in the museum and outside in Holmenkollen ski arena. The ski jacket was picked out of the glass box, and off the model, without anyone noticing.

The jacket had an emblem embroidered on the inside, with the king’s initials. This emblem was made in 1942 by a female prisoner in the German work camp of Grini, and was smuggled out from there. It was later fastened inside the jacket.

I realize that the weather in Oslo has been cold this winter, but you would think someone might notice a guest at the museum not wearing a jacket in to the museum and wearing a fur coat on the way out? (Assuming that is the way it was done. A fur coat is fairly big to put in a plastic bag and hide away.)

Harry & Charles

Charles & Harry is a mini series that NRK sent this Christmas. It details the 6-8 months period in the life of Prince Carl of Denmark and Princess Maud of Wales before they became the King and Queen of Norway. It therefore also includes a gallery of the royal family in Copenhagen and King Edward VII in the UK.

The series have received critique for being 10% facts and 90% fiction. Nevertheless, even though I was gnashing my teeth some of the time, it is an interesting series to watch.

I rather liked the family dynamics of the Danish court, and the more carefree depictions of family life in Bredgade.

I also liked how they got some the actors to look like the persons they were meant to portray. Although, I am convinced that Jacob Cedergren would also have made a fabulous Czar Nicholas II.

Unfortunately for royal watchers elsewhere, it is chiefly in Danish, with some Norwegian & Swedish thrown into the mix. There are bits and pieces of dialogue in English and French (the previous Princess Marie was by all accounts in the series not pleased about being in Denmark) but it is subtitled in Norwegian. It puzzles my mind, though, how, when the series is written and produced and sent by the same company, they can manage to mistranslate Danish to Norwegian in the subtitles.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3

NRK is apparently in talks of selling the series to other countries.