Royal family vs. royal house

In the past couple of years, there have come a distinct separation in Norway. It is the line between the members of the royal house (Kongehuset) and the members of the royal family (Kongefamilien). The members of the Royal House is the Monarch and spouse, the Crown Prince/ss and spouse and the heir. The rest of the lot are members of the royal family.

This, of course, means that the only one you’ll be spotting on the Palace balcony on May 17th – the Constitution/National day, are King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra. The rest of the lot, Prince Sverre Magnus, Princess Märtha Louise, Princess Astrid, Princess Ragnhild, and all those without a fancy HRH in front of their names will have to settle for watching the parade from inside the Palace, from below, or on television.


It’s a distinction that, largely, has come about with the birth of a male who is not the Hereditary Prince, but number two behind his bigger sister. From before, you’ve had it so that when the princesses married, they also married out of the Royal House and took their husband’s last name. Even if tradition in Norway has changed on this point in the last couple of years, it still hasn’t changed enough so I can’t picture Prince Sverre Magnus going for his wife’s name when he gets married… And then you end up with the issue of having royal HRHs in two (or more) lines.


They claimed that the lack of HRH was so that Prince Sverre Magnus should have the chance of having a normal life as he grows up.


In Sweden the position is reversed. There you have The Royal Family, which is the King and his immediate family, then you have the Royal House, which is the Royal Family plus Princess Lilian and Princess Birgitta and finally you have the Rest of the Royal Family.


In Denmark, the Royal House consists of the Queen, her husband, their sons with wives and children, Princess Benedikte and Princess Elisabeth. The latter is the Queen’s cousin. (The only one of the children of Prince Knud of Denmark who’re still in the Royal House, but it’s her brother, Count Ingolf, who’re receiving money from the state…). The Royal Family, on the other hand, also includes the Queen’s sister, Ex-Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and her family, and the rest of the Queen’s relatives.


In Belgium, there’s currently a proposal on the table regarding royals receiving money from the state, and the suggestion is quite similar to what the royal court in Norway has instituted, when it’s been minimizing the royal family, and also similar to processes in Britain and the Netherlands. In the future, it’s being suggested, the only of the king’s grandchildren who will receive money for royal duties, will be Princess Elisabeth.


This essentially means that Elisabeth’s siblings and her cousins will have to earn their way in the world on their own. Of course, it also means that Belgium will have a rather small actively royal family. That is… if there is a Belgium by the time Elisabeth reaches the age of 18.

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