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.

They start the program by the interviewer briefly recounting Haakon’s childhood and place in history. “One day, Crown Prince Haakon will inherit Norway – well, minus the Palace which belongs to the state and the politics which belong to the politicians. He is turning 40 – how will he fill the role?”

They spend the most of the interview sitting on the palace steps – a place Haakon has never been sitting before, looking out on Karl Johan.

Brenner has talked to people, and one of the things the people appreciate about the Norwegian royal family is that they don’t have too many palaces, it’s easier to identify with. Haakon: Well, we don’t own this – the state does. I think we have a nice palace. It is very Norwegian, down to earth. We couldn’t do something like Versailles, and I think we’re comfortable with that in Norway.

Brenner: But when Queen Elizabeth comes for a visit? Is it kind of below par then?

H: *laughs* No, I don’t think so.

They talk about the age of the Norwegian monarchy – just over 100 years, and Haakon point out that the family history ties are longer through the Danish monarchy from where King Haakon came, and going back further there. The documentary goes back in history to when Haakon and Maud and Olav entered the country as King, Queen and Crown Prince because the people wanted it. Haakon feels that it is more approachable history when he remembers his grandfather who was one of the initial people in the monarchy.

*Interviewing people in the street. I’m not transcribing these bits, as they’re all over the place.*

To be born as heir to the throne is extremely unlikely. To understand what the job description of a Crown Prince/Princess is beyond “All for Norway, Duty.”, Brenner also go to Denmark to interview Crown Prince Frederik and Sweden to interview Victoria.

Frederik: “It’s fantastic and lovely that we’re getting along. That we’re friends and not just family  meeting to tea for official occasions.”

Victoria: “I see a very smart person in Haakon. He’s a very thoughtful person:”

Brenner: How did you realise first when you were the Crown Prince/ss of Sweden/Denmark.

Victoria: There wasn’t a specific moment I remember. It’s almost a natural part of the childhood. It was a natural progression. I don’t have a specific time.  That you join your parents for more and more official engagements.

Frederik: I was 10-12 years. It was a lunch. They told me that Joachim would inherit a farm. And me, I thought? Well, you’re inheriting Denmark they said to me.

A heir prepare for the role by taking a military education and by studying. Political science, history is part of the Crown Princely education. His father and grandfather studied at Oxford.

H: Before, I felt that I had to carry it old on my shoulders. The turn: My first personal choice when I realized I was part of something was the Armed forces. When I joined the navy. When I realised I was a part of a tradition, what I would do in the future – that my great grandfather, grandfather and father had done this before me. That I was treasuring the future of the monarchy.

*Driving to Horten where he went to the defence academy.*

Haakon: It was the first time I met the real world. I lived in a bubble in middle school and high school.

Brenner: Did you have a choice? If you’d taken sociology at Oslo University?

H: That’s not the worst choice.

Brenner: But if you’d done a gap year?

H: But that I had something within the armed forces. Well, there were certain expectations. But it might have just been in my head.

They’re going back to an interview he did when was 18 years old. He talked then about his future plans on he would fill the Crown Prince function , and how he didn’t want to plan too much how he would do things as it would happen as he went along- and regret them.

There is a threefold for Norwegian Kings-  the Constitutional head of state, head of the church and Head of the armed forces.

H: And it’s tradition that the education goes a bit to the armed forces at least. But why not theology? But I did kind of have something of that during the confirmation period.

* Clip of the talk about Christianity*

H: It is strange to put an 18 year old in that interview setting. Kind of funny. But I don’t think they’d do it today.

*Clips of when he  “came of age” politically.

Brenner:  How was it to experience to get the adult role so early when you weren’t more than 18? And you also had to answer if you wanted to continue with the benediction ceremony like your parents had when they toook over.

H: I also think I was afraid of saying “I don’t know.”

Brenner:  How was it when your Dad came along to Horten when you were studying? On a scale from pride to embarrassing?

H: It was a bit funny, because it was both family and the admiral coming. So it was just about showing up for the admiral. Not embarrassing. A bit proud. I haven’t reflected that much about it. I probably thought more that – I really have to pay attention now when he was passing me on the inspection.

* Some confusion of where they’re going.*

H: I’m really bad at directions. Even if I’ve been somewhere before, it doesn’t mean I know where I am going. And I hate asking for directions.

*Talking about when he was in the navy and learning to navigate and train a ship. He also shows where his cleaning area was – he also cleaned the toilets.*

Pulling the drapes around his bed: “Privacy. And it worked for me. I listened to music. I was into the grunge wave that was going on around that time.”

He also reflects that he had a bit of happiness-feeling that came to him when he discovered that he wasn’t the only one who liked the music that he liked, that he was part of a small community.

*Back in Oslo*

Brenner: How was the reflections around being King? Slamming of doors?

H: I didn’t slam the doors. I talked to my dad about it a lot. But I also separated my life. I had friends and interests where I was just Haakon – and then there was the official side. And I couldn’t unite the two easily when it came to certain aspects, such as  going to concerts or other experiences that my friends did.

*To Berkely, where Haakon got his bachelor’s in Political science.*

H: People asked me how USA was – but I answered, I don’t know how the States are – I live in Berkeley, which is unlike many places in the states. I didn’t know anyone when I came, which was probably for the best.

He considered Oxford, but wanted to go further away. The King and Queen had visited Stanford and he considered that as well.

Interviewing Mette-Marit.

Brenner: Does he come to a point where he wants to go further as an activist but can’t because who he is?

MM: Yes. Kind of. Sometimes. I think he was more like that at Berkeley though.


H: I was a middle of the tree student. But the more I learnt, the more engaged I became.

*talking about participating  in student activies, panels on topics, where he could ask questions without being the subject of the discussion afterwards.*

*Surfing in Santa Cruz.*

H: I remember the first time I came here – Surfing California, that I’d read about since I was younger.

*Driving around looking for the place he lived in when he was living in Berkeley*

MM: He and his sister both are extremely bad at geographic directions. I think it is because they were always driven around by the police. Haakon is worse than Märtha.

*they finally found the house*

H: We bought all the furniture at a jumble sale.

H: I had a lot of thoughts that I thought was quite sensible. I wanted to bring with me the actions that I liked from then.  Going to the store myself. Living in the city centre.

MM: When he came home from Berkeley, when I met him. He was very coloured by his experiences there. Before we got together, there was a lot of happy times. But when we got together, it suddenly became very serious. We had to make a lot of serious choices very soon, because of a front page in a newspaper.

H: We were vulnerable because we challenged some norms in society.

MM: I was so taken in by the feeling that I had to do the perfect job. That I had to be the perfect princess. And I wasn’t. And I had a child, and the decisions came along quickly.

H: If you had asked someone if I could marry someone with a child, the answer would probably be negative, but I did, and it worked.

*Views from the people*

Frederik: Haakon, Victoria and I are a product of our age, and a product of being Nordic. There is a very accepting, forgiving thing about living in the nordic countries.

MM: It was very heavy thoughts for Haakon. He sometimes might have felt that he was endangering the monarchy.

H: I sometimes I felt that. And it was kind of a test, if there was space enough for me in the whole picture. If there wasn’t, it probably would be indicative if I was meant to have that space in the first place. So it was important to be honest.

*At their place in the mountains*

H: It’s kind of been a mutual project for us – where we found a land plot, and built a house.

*joking with Haakon and Mette-Marit on his hat, which she likes and calls *her* cap.*

H: If I have some clothes that Mette likes, it is not always I get to keep them.

* Back at the palace steps*

Brenner: You’re not so many. You’re kind of in danger of becoming extinct. Hang in there.

H: You can’t view us without the histoical ties. And yet we’re part of the current society. Some say that the monarchy is outdated and old fashioned. But you can just as easily say that the more well-functioning societies in today’s world are monarchies. But the monarchy debate is not mine. A lot of people think that it is my debate. But it isn’t. I’m on the side line. I have the choice between using my life for this. Do I think this is a good way to contribute. That’s one question. And its… I fill the role with content. And how the monarchy develops is up to me and us who’re in the positions we are, in my family. So the whole uncertainty bit on “how will this go?” unlike many others, I have a control. But the discussion on state form… I don’t have to go into. If Norway decides what they want to continue with, my question is if I want to do it, and the best way to do it.

*In Haakon’s office*

Brenner: How’s a day?

H: It’s so different. It can be one day in Haiti. But there are also many straight office days. And then I try to be home at five o’clock and have dinner with the kids.

*discussion on whether a Crown Prince can be an activist. He likes to put focus on things and get attention to them. He has been a good will ambassador for UN for ten years. *

Frederik: He has done new things in his world as Norway’s Crown Prince. And it has inspired me to do things. I have been vary of moving too far into topics that can be controversial. But I’d seen that it wasn’t a problem in Norway, so I started doing it in Denmark – and it wasn’t a problem here either.

H: Why do I do this? I have always been concerned with the big questions in life. And find and understanding. We’re all worth the same. We’re all in the same boat. Things that happen with people far away can also happen to us. It is possible to do things. That’s why I do it.

Brenner: Even if you can’t change the world as a CP or King, there can still be an activist inside?

H: We as humans have dreams. But you can’t get swallowed up by it. Getting engaged by it is positive, but not get too tied up, so that you’re in a good place regardless of how it works. That’s what I view as happiness.

Brenner: If the monarchy should disappear in your time, you would be okay with it?

H: I could at least have tried. I went through it a bit with the wedding. if things became difficult, what would have happened? It’s easy to say that things would have been fine, but you never know. But I would have tried. The most important thing is not to be afraid of anything all the time. I try not to be.

H: The plan is that I’m the one to be King. And then it is nice that I say something on where I think we should go?

I: Do you ever wish you represented something a bit more contemporary?

H: Sometimes I might. But the role I have is pretty flexible and I can do more than people think.

MM: To be on the top of the hierarchy, but at the same time not be allowed to have opinions… in 2013, that’s difficult. It may cause people to view us as toothless and boring at some point.

H: Sometimes we’re viewed as toothless and boring. But sometimes we’re too exciting and political. So I guess we’ve hit a middle road somewhere.

*They’re stopped by the police in California for speeding*

H: Now you’re getting some good footage.

I: You didn’t drive that quickly.

I: What have you inherited? What does it stand for?

H: Well, there is a continuity in it. And it is tied to a nation. And there are some people tied to it. Mette and I. Ingrid. My parents. We’re generational. There aren’t that many examples of that left in society. In one way it is a strength – I think we need a line and stability in society somewhere.

I: How you keep your positions in a world in constant change?

Victoria: By being relevant. If you’re not relevant, you’re obscure.

MM:  I think he can be relevant by standing up for values he believe in.  Values are always changing, in a way.  By talking to youths today, they have different values than when we grew up. and I think he has a role there. But being relevant is difficult. Making a difference for people is difficult.

H: The starting point is what is important to the people who’re doing it. For Mette and I it has been on what is important to us and starting there. We work with youths because we find that interesting. We work with the UN, she with HIV/AIDS and me with the millennium goals and UNDP.

*Ingrid, Harald and Haakon joking around before official interviewing*

They’re showing the state council room to Ingrid for the first time and showing the paintings. And showing her the official duties and processes around it.

Ingrid: Is my great grandfather a gray/blue dot? (Looking closely at the painting.) And then stepping further back.

H: I want to pass on something. I want to look my daughter in the eyes, and say that this is worth fighting for.

I: How much action room do you have?

Harald: What you make, really. As Crown Prince, you have a lot. As King: Not a lot.

I: As a King, will you go for the benediction ceremony?

H: Probably. We’ll come back to the details.

I: After all you know of this position, if it had been an advertisement, would you apply for it?

Victoria: Interesting question.  I… think it is an advantage to have been born into it.

Frederik: A good question. It is difficult to say because it is… hypothetical. I don’t think many would have applied.

MM: I probably applied when I started dating Haakon.

H: I would probably have done it. Probably.

H: I think it is quite alright to be informal. But sometimes, it might be crazy. Sitting on the palace and having an interview…

I: What do you think of it?

H: It’s kind of on the verge of being too much, but it is just inside the comfort zone.


It is also possible to read the subtitled version through Google Translate. Click on this link, and then on the subtitles tab under the picture.

By Anne

Anne is a librarian by day. By night, she reads. She knits. She watches movies and television shows. She enjoys board games. And posting on royal related forums.

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