Ten years ago, today, the Norwegian regional newspaper, Fedrelandsvennen, broke the news that Crown Prince Haakon’s newest girlfriend was called Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby and was from Kristiansand, although she was living in Oslo.
Other media outlets jumped onboard, but there were no immediate comments from either the Palace or Mette-Marit herself. According to an anonymous friend who was cited as a source in VG, 30-12-1999, the couple had been quietly together since the summer that year.
Mette-Marit was introduced as an independent girl, who had her feet firmly planted on the ground. She was studying social anthropology, and working as a waitress alongside her studies when the news hit Norway, but the word that perhaps was most in the media to describe her was single mother. Neither working alongside the studies or being a single mother is particularly remarkable in Norway, but the latter especially seemed to be difficult to face for some in relations to this being the girlfriend of the Crown Prince.
It took until May 14, 2000 before the relationship went “really” public. Then the Crown Prince confirmed on national television that they were together as a couple. And to much controversy, especially from the Church, in September, 2000, the Palace confirmed that the couple would be living together in a new apartment.
The public engagement came on December 1st the same year, and the wedding followed in August the next.
In conclusion – it has been a decade filled with changes for Mette-Marit. Going from relative obscurity as a student with a part-time job and a young son, to the Crown Princess of Norway and mother of three.
Has it really been 10 years? Wow!
I think it’s rather refreshing that Prince Haakon acknowledged the relationship publicly. So different from the British where girlfriends are not acknowledged and have to stay a few paces behind their boyfriends – lest anyone read anything into it or it be seen as a royal endorsement.
Had any of the British Princes had a girl-friend as controversial as MM (…) I am absolutely certain St. James’Palace would immediately have tried to be at least 1 step ahead of the media; to avoid more gossip/rumours etc.
You will have to look long & hard to find any Heir to a Throne being so open about a relationship as Haakon was; however he was trying to do his utmost to protect his girl-friend from more harm by the media. But then you would also have to look long & hard to find any-one with an equally bad reputation / undesirable background as Haakon’s future wife …