Märtha Louise and the princess title

In January 2002, King Harald decided that Princess Märtha Louise would lose her style of Royal Highness from February 1, the same year. The reason for this decision was to avoid possible conflicts of interest when the princess started her own entertainment company. From January 1, 2002, she also lost the money she was receiving from the government.

“It is a liberation, so I can enter the working force and earn my own money. It is the best thing for all parties,” the Princess said after the news was released.

Unlike her aunts, who took the name of their husbands upon marriage, Märtha Louise did not become Princess Märtha Louise, Mrs. Behn after her marriage.

In the years since the change of style, there has been some ups and downs in the media and population with regards to Märtha Louise and her business affairs. Probably the biggest hullaboo came when she said she had been talking to angels, and started the so-called Angel School, Astarte.

In early December 2009, Respons on behalf of Aftenposten polled 1003 Norwegians to see how they felt about Märtha Louise retaining her Princess title while working. A small majority of just over 50% answered yes to the statement: Märtha Louise should keep the princess title, even after starting a private business.  30% are indifferent and 20% feels that she should have lost the title.

Sociolog and researcher Hedvig Skonhoft Johansen says in the article that accompanied the poll:

“The King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess do the serious and important engagements from the Palace and Skaugum. Märtha has apparently received acceptance for being the business princess, and people have become accustomed to anything that is spectacular or out there is being done from Lommedalen.”


  1. Interesting. I always thought that her losing the Royal Highness style was a demotion because of who she married. Wasn’t he a controversial choice?

  2. Yes, but that was not the reason she lost it. Had she not given it up when she started working, she would have lost it anyway, regardless of who she married (with the exception of another royal, of course).

    It has simply become the tradition in the Norwegian royal house that when the princesses marry – they lose the HRH.

  3. That seems rather discriminatory. Does this happen with the males who marry?

    In Japan royal women lose their titles when they marry and it just seems highly unfair to make someone choose between their birthright and their marital status.

  4. It’s been the standard, as wifes have traditionally taken on their husband’s last names and titles, rather than the other way around.

    There actually haven’t been any males in the family, who haven’t been the Crown Prince, before Prince Sverre Magnus was born, so there was not a precedent in modern times.

    However, it is widely believed that the above is also the reason for why he did not receive a HRH at birth – that it would be more practical for him later in life, to not have the HRH status to deal with. Also it would be a way to keep the royal house small, and for the Norwegians not financially have to support a large royal institution.

  5. But can a royal house ever be too small? Once Prince Haakon becomes king, who will be left in the royal house to carry duties? His wife and Princess Ingrid Alexandra?

    I find that the British royal family seems to be titling itself into extinction. Edward’s children have no royal titles. Any children of Beatrice and Eugenie will likely be untitled. At some point, it seems that all that will be left will be William and Harry.

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