Posted by: Sarah | July 11, 2010

A Brief History Of Royalty…In Norway

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I’m just watching the World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands and my support goes to Spain on this match…partly because the Dutch seem to be using some violent tactics on the pitch and partly because our canteen chef at work is Spanish.  Anyway, what has this got to do with royalty? 

Well, I heard at the start that King Juan Carlos of Spain couldn’t make the journey to South Africa because of poor health and it reminded me that I haven’t yet posted anything about the Norwegian Royal Family! So, if you want to learn a little about how Norway is connected to England, here’s a quick history lesson…

  • King Haakon VII (The First King Of “Modern” Norway) – I say “Modern” Norway because the Norwegian Royal Family stretches back to 872AD and this would be a VERY long blog post.  Norway as a modern nation is quite young!  When Norway and Denmark merged under a single monarch in 1380, Norway came under Danish control.  In 1814 Norway broke free and just as they were drawing up their own constitution Sweden came a long and forced another union.  Roll onto 1905 when the union was dissolved, the Norwegian people chose their monarch and they picked a Danish man called Prince Carl who then became King Haakon VII of what I call “Modern” Norway.   He actually married Princess Maud of England and they had a son, Prince Olav, who was born in Sandringham in England…so the connection to England started…  (Right – Haakon and his son Olav during the war)

Still with me?

In Norway, Haakon VII is regarded as one of the greatest Norwegians of the 20th century for his bravery during the German occupation in WW2.  During the invasion, King Haakon VII narrowly escaped Nazi capture by fleeing to England for protection.  Apparently, during Norway’s 5 years under German control, many Norwegians surreptitiously wore clothing or jewelry made from coins bearing Haakon’s “H7” monogram as symbols of resistance to the German occupation and of solidarity with their exiled king and government.

  • King Olav V (The Second King Of “Modern” Norway) – After the war, the Royal Family came back to Norway to rule once again.  In 1958 Prince Olav was crowned King of Norway and was affectionately known as the “Peoples King”.  This was so because he wanted to be treated like one of the people.  In 1973 when the international oil crisis limited the use of private cars, he travelled by public transport.  In the same year he travelled to Holmenkollen on the tram insisting that he paid the conductor for his fare (right).  He was asked how he dared to go out in public without bodyguards. He replied that he had 4 million bodyguards—the entire population of Norway.  He was quite an amazing guy…he was also an Olympic athlete winning a gold medal in 1928 for sailing!


  • King Harald V (Current King Of Norway): King Olav had three children – 2 girls and 1 boy called Harald who was born in 1937 and in 1991 became the first Norwegian born king since 1370.  He’s married to Queen Sonja and he is the great-grandson of Edward VII of England as in fact the 63rd in line to the British throne!!!  I’ve seen King Harald pretty close up when parliament opened last year and he looks like a typical family Grandad – lovely face and charming manner.


  • Crown Prince Haakon VIII (Future King Of Norway) – Finally – the future King of Norway.  Crown Prince Haakon broke the mould when he married outside of the aristocracy.  He married single mother Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby on 25 August 2001, at Oslo Cathedral and many Norwegians considered the wedding to be inappropriate since Marit was well-known on the rave scene in Oslo which had a drug fuelled subculture.   The feeling was so strong that she did a press conference before the wedding explaining her past! 

Well I’m at the end of my epic blog post and the match is still going!  Come on Spain!!!!  We don’t want penalties!

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