As is the tradition for the Norwegian Crown Princely couples, Haakon and Mette-Marit visited Finnmark and the Sami people last week. Their visit started in Kautekeino on February 5 and ended in Karasjok on the 6.
Haakon’s grandparents King (then Crown Prince) Olav and Crown Princess Märtha visited Finnmark in 1934, his parents, Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja visited in 1969, and now, in 2009, it was Haakon and Mette-Marit’s turn. (Nordlys has a side-by-side comparison of a picture from the two last visits.)
The Royal House apparently has a very solid position within the Sámi community.
The occasion for this visit was the Sámi National Day on February 6.
Haakon and Mette-Marit received the traditional Sámi gákti for their wedding in 2001, and were both wearing it when they showed up for the Sámi National Day at the National Assembly. (Se & Hør pointed out that the Crown Prince was wearing the red tassel of the hat on the wrong side – as a single man instead of someone married). The Sámi women interviewed by NRKcould spot some mistakes in the way the outfits were put on, but were overall very impressed with how well Haakon and Mette-Marit looked.
Haakon and Mette-Marit used Sámi clothing for their visit, which prominent Sámi people VG talked to thought was fantastic, and that they showed an interest in the Sámi people by doing this and showing up for the national day. Other Sámi readers interviewed felt that the Sámi outfits should be reserved for the people with a Sámi heritage. I guess it is a case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
The visit was filled with Sámi culture, and they both had the chance to race with the reindeers on their visit. It didn’t go so well for Haakon, whose sled turned over just after start, but even if her trip on the sled went slightly better than her husband’s, Mette-Marit preferred racing on a snowmobile. “I do like driving a bit fast,” she admitted.
During the stay in Karasjok, they had the option of sleeping outside in a lavo – but only Haakon took the offer. With -30 degrees celsius (-22 fahrenheit), Mette-Marit felt that it was too cold.
Apart from the visit to the National Assembly, they also visited Karasjok school on the National Day, where they got the chance to show off their lasso-throwing. Haakon did very well, but with catching three press-photographers in her lasso, it was his wife who preformed the most memorably during the event. Afterwards, out in the freezing cold, she held her first speech in the Sámi language, or rather, like Marie’s first speech in Danish, it was only partial. But it is those occasions where every little bit impresses…
At about the same time, Kongehuset.no (the royal webpage) went live with its first Sámi version. http://www.gonagasviessu.no/ is the direct link to the Sámi version.