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.

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.


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”

Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus examining the bats at Skaugum

Skaugum in Asker is in bat county. In 2011, nest boxes were put up in trees for the bats – to give them a place to roost. Some species of bats are in danger of extinction.

Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus participated when the boxes were put up. Today, it was time to check progress of the boxes for this year, and they participated again.

15 bats were found.

The 18th international bat night is the night between the 30 and 31 of August.

Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Tonje Norum Svendsen, Det kongelige hoff

Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus to start private schools

The court released information today that Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus will change schools – starting after the summer.

Ingrid Alexandra will start in 5th grade at Oslo International School, whereas her brother will start in 3rd grade at the Montessori school in Oslo.

The court states that the reasoning is that Ingrid Alexandra is going to the International school to be more fluent in conversational English, as would befit her future role. They don’t mention anything about why Sverre Magnus is going to a different school.

They say that they have been very happy with the schooling they have had at their current school at Jansløkka. But that they have tried to make the choices that are right for their children.

The news is causing debate in Norwegian media. Part of the reasoning is that if the future head of state is withdrawing his children from the public school system, it must mean that he thinks that the system is not good enough.

Since the children of Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha returned from the United States after WWII, the children of the Crown Princely family have gone to public schools.

Republicans are also out in full force – with comments such as the royal family are removing themselves from the people, and becoming part of the shameless elite.

Märtha Louise and Ari Behn’s children were attending their local Steiner school before they moved to London, and presumably they will also return to that when they move back to Norway.

The decided lack of information about why they have chosen to move now, and why Sverre Magnus is going to a different school than his sister makes me consider that the decision might be more about how Sverre Magnus is fitting in at his school than the extreme need for Ingrid Alexandra to learn conversational English at a young age.

After all, Crown Prince Haakon and his sister had an English nanny growing up so they could learn the language better at a young age.


Mette-Marit cured of her fear of flying (and interview about reading habits.)

The weekend supplement to the Norwegian newspaper VG received an interview with Mette-Marit during the recent literary train ride. Snippets from the interview translated below.

I find it interesting that her reading habits (not what she reads, but how she reads) mimics my own. Because I read a lot. And I read everywhere. Even before I got the Kindle app on my iPhone, I would frequently walk around with books in my bag to read when I had a minute or two.

Continue reading “Mette-Marit cured of her fear of flying (and interview about reading habits.)”

Mette-Marit and the Literary Train

Last autumn, the Norwegian Library Association celebrated its 100th anniversary. Around the same time Crown Princess Mette-Marit got the idea to put together a literature train, literally.

I want to inspire people to read more! And I want to put the focus on how important libraries are in our society.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Continue reading “Mette-Marit and the Literary Train”

Crown Prince Haakon for Lillehammer 2016

Crown Prince Haakon is on the committee for the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympics. Yesterday he was filming a promotional film for the games.

Review: Nasjonal klassereise : Mette-Marit og politikkens abdikasjon

Nasjonal klassereise : Mette-Marit og politikkens abdikasjon by Hedvig Skonhoft Johannesen

The book, or leaflet (considering the amount of pages, was written for the centenary of the Norwegian female vote. It’s part of a series of 12 publications from various women on what happens in Norway today.

This particular one covers the Norwegian Crown Princess, and how she is portrayed in the media, how she has “travelled through the classes” and why the Norwegian media aren’t asking more critical questions of the royal house when they have the chance to do interviews.

The latter was very clear both last year, with the interview that sparked the whole dress-discussion, but also with the 10 year anniversary documentaries that were made a couple of years ago.

We’re shown a glossy image of the royal family, as much as possible.

It’s a good and valid debate to ponder about – I do question why it is just Mette-Marit who is coming up for the debate here, and why she hasn’t included Queen Sonja in the discussion. The two of them combined have done a much greater journey through the class-system of Norway than just Mette-Marit alone.

If it hadn’t been for Sonja coming first, I’m not sure Mette-Marit, or someone similar to her, could have come along as “easily.” The Norwegian monarchy would have looked vastly different in 2000/2001 if it hadn’t been for the Queen paving the road first.

Mette-Marit’s Jelsa bunad

Jelsa is a small town in South West Norway. It’s a minimum 3 hour drive (depending on ferries) from Norway’s 4th largest city.

View Larger Map

Jelsa is interesting in this context only because Crown Princess Mette-Marit has a national costume from there.

Last week, I talked about how the wearer of the bunads tend to have a connection to the place the bunads are from. In Rogaland, the majority of the bunads tend to look alike in style. It is the embroidery patterns that are different. Generally, for the bigger cities, the connection tend to be to Rogaland, and not to the specific place the pattern origined. For smaller places, they might have a different, more specific, costume.

Mette-Marit’s mother, Marit Tjessem, is from Sandnes in Rogaland. Mette-Marit, who grew up in Kristiansand, got a national costume from Rogaland for her religious confirmation, instead of Vest Agder. Norwegian girls tend to get the bunads as a gift for their confirmations, if they want it, and their families can afford it.

A bunad is probably the most festive outfit in Norway. In status, it is equivalent to a gala outfit for big events as well as familiar happenings. For example: Mette-Marit wore her bunad for Marius’ christening.

During the engagement, she wore it when she and Haakon visited the folk museum in Valdres.

She regularly wears the Jelsa bunad. Last major public event she wore it for was the National Day last year, when she and the rest of the family greeted the children’s parade at Skaugum. (At the link you can also see a picture of teenaged Mette-Marit wearing the same bunad.)

As the mother of three, Mette-Marit is still wearing the same bunad that she wore when she was 15. She is clearly not the same size anymore. The secret is that bunads tend to be made slightly big for the 15 year old, but also made with (large) inseams that can be let out as needed.

Even so, the most common topic around the Norwegian tables or magazines, before a big event or May 17, is probably if the bunad has “shrunk” since last year, and the women trying to eat sensibly to fit into it…

Happy 10th birthday Ingrid Alexandra

Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandra
Photo: Sølve Sundsbø, Det kongelige hoff.
Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandra
Photo: Sølve Sundsbø, Det kongelige hoff.
Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandra
Photo: Sølve Sundsbø, Det kongelige hoff.

It is kind of difficult to believe that Princess Ingrid Alexandra is turning 10 this year.

I remember when she was born – I was studying history at the time – and I had a lecture I had to be at… and got up to the university and back from the lecture just in time for the PR conference. (I also attended the lecture, but can’t remember much about that.)

Happy birthday!


Mette-Marit and the royal dresses (#19)

Summer is traditionally the deadest period of Norwegian newspaper journalism. It is so dead that it is called cucumber season, because the stories of cucumber-growers (or other similar small pebbles of stories) suddenly become almost front page material. They therefore naturally all rejoice when something unexpected crops up.

One of the big  topics in the Norwegian media this past summer was the storm of the royal dresses. More precisely, Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s dresses. It started after she was interviewed by Dagbladet. Published in July.

[On the critique that she spends tons of money on clothes she wears on conferences, and meeting poor people, and bringing a stylist along on this trip] “There are some lines drawn up in this role I have, on how to dress and how to behave and everything like that. I try to stay within to those lines, and I can see a certain use in relating to them. But if there is something I think I have to work on, it is the critique I get for that.”

Including the above quote, she also said that it becomes tiresome when she is out working for more serious issues, but what ends up in the media is what she is wearing for the events.

(It should be pointed out that Dagbladet chiefly is, and has been, a republican-minded tabloid newspaper.)

Continue reading “Mette-Marit and the royal dresses (#19)”

Commercial film for Haakon and Mette-Marit’s foundation

The Crown Princely Couple’s Foundation have created a commercial for their work. Haakon and Mette-Marit share a bit about what projects the foundation works with. The first video is a teaser for the longer film.

It’s a beautiful film, and it is good to hear how they’ve considered the options for where they want their foundation to go. A quick transcription and translation below.

Haakon: All youth have a huge potential. And some might need a different way in to release that potential. It’s about being taken seriously, and to have a structure and plan around that which works. And that’s what we try to achieve with the foundation and the organizations that we cooperate with are very good at that.

Mette-Marit: Being young. Well, it’s a difficult time for all – we both remember that from our own youth. And for us it has been important to focus on that youth should be seen, heard, and feel valuable.

Haakon: The projects we have chosen to work with are conscious at focusing on what the youths are good at. And I think that it means that the youth are seen in a new way, which is the road to success.

Mette-Marit: I think youth today have more options that we had when we were young. And the projects we’re involved work with helping the youth to find their dreams and guide them on the way there. And that’s one of the responsibilities I think we have as adults is to see the youths, and to help them on their way and navigate a bit in the great number of choices they face.

Haakon: And it is so much fun to work with, because there is so much energy there. It’s incredibly nice to go around to the projects and see the work they do. And not least, how the youths take care of the others who join the projects, how they take care of each other. And they also start to work with youth related work.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s history of ailments

Crown Princess Mette-Marit had her surgery yesterday, and, according to reports, came through all right.. She will have a few days of recuperation at the hospital, and then some re-training at home.

It is just the latest in the line of unfortunate ailments for the Norwegian Crown Princess. Ever since the marriage in 2001, there have been incidents and cases where she either has been ill, or just plain unfortunate,  have ended up on sick leave, or similar.

For a lot of the incidents, it is something that could happen to anyone of us – and most likely do. It just becomes so very visible when it is the Crown Princess, and she has to cancel stuff.

Below are some of them. I highly suspect there are much more. Some which she may have worked through, and some that have gone fairly unnoticed because a light schedule.

Continue reading “Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s history of ailments”

Mette-Marit to have surgery

On October 8, the Norwegian royal court announced that the neck prolapse of Crown Princess Mette-Marit had returned, and that the Crown Princess was on sick leave for two weeks.  On October 21, they announced that the leave had been expanded 6-8 weeks, as she was not better.

She is still not better and the doctors have recommended that she will undergo surgery.

“We had hoped, for a long time, to avoid surgery, and we have waited as long as possible. She is in great pain now, so surgery is a necessity,” Marianne Hagen, Communication manager at the Royal Court, told NTB.

The royal court announced today that the Crown Princess will have surgery on her neck to remove the herniated disc as well as release some of the pressure on the nerves in the neck. The surgery will take place this week, and the Crown Princess will remain in hospital for a few days after the surgery. The recuperation and rehabilitation period is unknown in length at the moment, and the court states that it is too early to determine if the sick leave will need to expand beyond the current time.

Mette-Marit on sick leave.

Mette-Marit’s neck disc prolapse has returned and she is currently on sick leave for two weeks.

She will do some engagements, according to the Palace spokesperson – but anything involving travel is out.

The official trip to Finland will be done by Haakon solo. Next week’s literary train ride to Northern Norway that was on her schedule is also cancelled.

The slipped disc is a recurring problem for the Crown Princess. It first came to light after an official engagement at a local school’s ski and sledding day in 2010, but the worn discs in her neck first  became known after her fall in Hungary in 2008.

Then, the medical leave was 50%, but still resulted in Crown Prince Haakon traveling to the Olympics without her company.

The court said that they can’t discount that the leave might be extended after the two weeks are up.

Mette-Marit on the cover of Norwegian Elle

elleCrown Princess  Mette-Marit is the cover girl on the September issue of Norwegian Elle.

They made a fairly big deal that the coverage was to honour the Crown Princess on her 40th birthday.

Inside the magazine there were two photos from an earlier photo session that had been reserved especially for the Elle issue.

It had also come out in the media beforehand that Marit Tjessem, Mette-Marit’s mother, had been interviewed, for (allegedly) the first time ever… (If I recall right, she did talk in one of the documentaries a couple of years ago…)

The whole thing is four pages, and three of those pages are the pictures.

Marit Tjessem’s “interview” is a paragraph. Which is okay enough, she’s talking about how proud she is of her daughter, for the things she has worked on over the years and how good she is about getting in touch with people which is an important part of her life. She loves her family, her children and she has a lot of care for her mother.

“Today, she comes across as knowledgable, with a good Master of Management degree. She’s a good writer, resourceful, and competitive.” – Marit Tjessem

The other friends and acquaintances who wrote birthday greetings to the Crown Princess was Peter Dundas of Pucci, Michael Sidibè of UNAIDS, a woman from Arbeidsinsituttet in Buskerud county (an organisation that works with the Crown Princely couple foundation), the photographer who took the pictures, and Mina Al-Oraibi, who got to know Mette-Marit through Young Global Leaders.

“It is impossible to know Mette without knowing Haakon, who in everything is her second half. The two of them complement each other in a rare manner.” – Mina Al-Oraibi

There are some nice things being said, but for me it feels like too little content for justifying putting Mette-Marit on the cover. Especially since they have a six page extensive interview with Maria Mena following it on the next page.

I guess the final conclusion from me is that it is very underwhelming. And I wish royals would stop being on magazine covers like this.

TV summary : Crown Prince Haakon – the road to a kingdom

The programme is meant to follow Haakon to places that have been important to him so far in his life. The interviewer was Hans Olav Brenner, one of the names on a list that the palace gave to NRK when they agreed to the interview. (Which also turned out to get them into a media storm. You can really tell that it is not much else going on in Norway at the moment.)

My transcription below is very stream of consciousness as I am watching. The quotes aren’t alway directly translated, but to get the gist of them. They talk quickly.

I have mixed it a bit between calling the interviewer Brenner and just using I: when he is talking.


Link to the video of the interview at NRK’s site. 

Personally, I am not crazy about the interviewer, as I think he usually jumps around a lot – but in this case I think it sort of worked. It’s a good interview, and Haakon has some reflections on his role that I think are interesting.

Continue reading “TV summary : Crown Prince Haakon – the road to a kingdom”

Interview with Crown Prince Haakon on NRK

Just a notice that on Saturday, there will be a documentary and interview with Crown Prince Haakon on NRK. It may be available for international viewers, on their webpages.

The programme is called Kronprins Haakon – veien til et kongerike and airs on NRK July 20, at 20:10 Norwegian time.

I will try to summarize afterwards in English.

Crown Prince Haakon’s birthday celebrations

The Royal Court
Phto credit: The Royal Court

After much speculations in the press around the performing artists and the security cost, The Palace reveals details around Crown Prince Haakon’s birthday celebrations.

Since he is a huge fan of music, Crown Princess Mette-Marit has set the celebrations up so that there will be  a music festival at Skaugum for two days. The guests as well as the Crown Prince and Crown Princess will mostly be sleeping outdoors in tents and sleeping bags – like at an ordinary festival.

Some royals will be sleeping indoors, but it seems like the majority, if not all of them, will stay at Skaugum – reducing the need for security elsewhere drastically. The security for it all is estimated to come to 3.7 million NOK – a shift down from the 20 million NOK that Finansavisen reported.

There have been talk in Svensk Damtidning (who has it from Se & Hør’s front page, a reputable source…) that it will be a hippie party.

“It’s not a themed party the Crown Princess has invited to, but a music festival.” – palace spokesperson

They aren’t revealing details on the line-up yet, as the musical acts are the birthday gifts and they want the revealing point for the Crown Prince to be when the acts open – not a week before in the press.

But the spokesperson can confirm some things. “It is not true that Coldplay is giving a performance, and if you hear that world stars like Madonna, David Bowie or the Beatles will come – that’s not true either.”