King Harald ascended the throne on the death of his father,King Olav V, on January 17, 1991. Like his father and hisgrandfather, King Haakon VII, he adopted the motto "All forNorway".
The birth of a prince is always an important event in the life of a nation. However, it was aparticularly special occasion for the Norwegian people when an heir to the throne was born on February 21, 1937. The princewas born at Skaugum, the estate that is still the home of the RoyalFamily. This was the first time in 567 years that a prince had beenborn in Norway, and the birth ensured the line of succession of therelatively newly established Norwegian Royal Family. Thus with
Prince Harald's birth, the country was guaranteed a king, at least for the next twogenerations, and this meant a great deal to most Norwegians.
King Harald is the son of King Olav V (1903-1991) and Crown Princess Märtha (1901-54). King Olav was son of King Haakon VII (1872-1957) and Queen Maud (1869-1938). Queen Maud was the daughter of the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra of Britain. Olav his pictured with his English Cousin George (1902-42). (Prince George was the fourth son of George V and Queen Mary. He was created Duke of
Kent in 1934, marrying Princess Marina of Greece in the same year. King Harald's mother was the daughter of the Swedish Prince Carl (1861-1951) and Princess Ingeborg (1878-1958). When Princess Martha was born, Norway was still a part of Sweden and even after separation, close family reatioins connected the Swedih and Norwegian royal family. She and Prince Olav met as children. Their marriage was very popular in Norway. The then Crown Princess had met President Roosevelt when she and her husband visited he New York World Fair just before he war began (1939).
King Olav was son of King Haakon VII (1872-1957) and Queen Maud (1869-1938). Queen Maud was the daughter of the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra of Britain. Olav his pictured with his English Cousin George (1902-42). (Prince George was the fourth son of George V and Queen Mary. He was created Duke of
Kent in 1934, marrying Princess Marina of Greece in the same year. He was killed in an air crash in 1942 while on active service with the RAF.) Queen Maud of Norway being George V's sister, and the Norwegian royal family spent regular holidays at Sandringham.
King Harald's mother was the daughter of the Swedish Prince Carl (1861-1951) and Princess Ingeborg (1878-1958). When Princess Martha was born, Norway was still a part of Sweden and even after separation, close family reatioins connected the Swedih and Norwegian royal family. She and Prince Olav met as children. Their marriage was very popular in Norway. The then Crown Princess had met President Roosevelt when she and her husband visited he New York World Fair just before he war began (1939). The President was enchanted by her. Fleeing the NAZIs, the President put her and her children up in Hyde Park and the White House until they found pdermanent quarters. [Goodwin, pp. 149-154.]
Harald had two sisters, Ragnhild and Astrid.
The first 3 years of Prince Harald's life at Skaugum were peaceful
ones. But this peace wasdestroyed in the early hours of April 9, 1940, when Hitler's troops invaded Norway. The RoyalFamily was one of their primary targets. Forced to flee in great haste, King Haakon, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and the Government left the capital by train only hours before the German occupation forces arrived. The King and the Government held out against the Germans moving into the backwoods until Norway capitulated in June. Hitler demanded they then surrender, but the King andCrown Prince fled to London, where they set up a government-in-exile. The Crown Prince and the Crown Princess parted company at Hamar. Crown Princess Märthaand the children crossed the border into Sweden under cover of darkness on April 10. President Roosevelt offered assylum and several months later they went to the United States. They went to Hyde Park first to meet the President ans stayed in the White House until they found permanent quarters. The Crown Princess, Prince Harald and his two elder sisters, Ragnhild and Astrid, stayed just outside Washington D.C. until the liberation in 1945. The Princess was a frequent visitor to the White House and the President loved her company. [Goodwin, pp. 149-154.] Crown Prince Olav returned to Norway on May 13, 1945. He was joined by the rest of his family and King Haakon on 7 June. They were greeted by jubilant crowds.
Prince Harald was raised to carry out the duties to which he was born. On the one hand he was prepared for a life as custodian of royal traditions. On the other, he grew up with strong personalties to the people and to his own time, in keeping with the traditions of modern constitutional monarchies. After the liberation in 1945, Prince Harald attended Smestad Primary School, a Norwegian state school. Apart from the police guard in the corridor, his schooling was no different from that of other children. After completing primary school, Prince Harald continued his studies at Oslo Kate-dralskole. He took his upper secondary diploma in science in 1955, and matricu-lated at the University of Oslo that same autumn.
After completing his compulsory military service as an officer, Crown Prince Harald went to Oxford. He studied political science, history and economics at Balliol College, the same collegehis father had attended more than 30 years earlier.
The prince took part in a wide variety of sports. As a ten-year-old, he laid the founda-tion for anactive career as a regatta sailor. He had his own boat, which he sailed to victory during thesummer regattas in the Oslo Fjord.
Immediately afterwards, he began his military education. First he attended the Cavalry Officers'Candidate School at Trandum, and then the Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1959. Today he is a general in the Army and the Air Force and an admiral in the Navy.
Two years before he graduated as a non-commissioned lieutenant, Prince Harald was made Crown Prince and attended his first meeting of the Council of State. His grandfather, KingHaakon VII, died on September 21, 1957, and Harald took his place beside his father in the Council of State just a few days later.
As Crown Prince, Harald was the King's deputy. The first time he served as Regent was in 1958. From the time King Olav fell ill in the spring of 1990 and during his convalescence, the CrownPrince Regent presided over the Council of State and assumed some of King Olav's other duties.
King Olav's announcement in 1968 that Crown Prince Harald wished to marry a commoner triggered a heated political debate on the future of the monarchy. The Crown Prince had known his bride-to-be for nine years before it was decided that they were to marry. King Olav himself made the decision after having consulted the Government, the President of the Storting and the leaders of the various parliamentary groups in the Storting. The response was favourable. The vast majority of the population accepted Sonja Haraldsen immediately with great enthu-siasm, which indicates the status enjoyed by the Royal Family and by Sonja Haraldsen as an individual. She became inseparably linked with the national unitysymbolized by the Norwegian Royal Family.
King Harald married Sonja Haraldsen August 1968. The couple's first child, Märtha Louise, was born on September 22, 1971, and the second, Prince Haakon, on July 20, 1973. We have no information about the children's childhood or the clothes they wore as children, It is Crown Prince Haakon who is line to inherit the crown. Prince Haakon married Mette ??? in 200?. She had a boy named Marius from a previous marriage. In previous years this would have made the marriage impossible. They now have a daughter.
Queen Sonja was born on July 4, 1937, and grew up in Oslo. After completing lower secondary school, she took a diploma in dressmaking and tailoring at the Oslo Vocational School and adiploma in dress-making at the Ecole Professionelle des Jeunes Filles in Lausanne, Switzerland. She subsequently completed her upper secondary education and received a Bachelor of Artsdegree in English, French and art history from the University of Oslo. The Queen has beenparticularly involved in humanitarian work, and she served as Vice President of the NorwegianRed Cross for a number of years. She is also known to have a keen interest in art and culture.
The deep commitment shown by King Olav and the then Crown Prince and Crown Princess isone of the reasons the monarchy has such a strong position in Norway today. Another reason isthe significance of the Royal Family as a symbol of social stability and political continuity inpolitically turbu-lent times. And above all, the Royal Family is a symbol of unity, which provedextremely important during the Second World War.
Crown Prince Harald in 1960 made his first major official journey abroad. He visited the USA inconnection with the fiftieth anniver-sary of the American Scandinavian Founda-tion. The Crown Prince proved to be a good ambassador for Norwegian interests, particularly Norwegian shippinginterests. Crown Prince Harald took his place at his father's side in the years that followed. The two mencomplemented each other in carrying out the extensive official duties required of the Royal Family.The Crown Prince opened exhibitions, took part in con-ferences, visited homes for the elderly,and made official visits abroad. He opened new airline routes and Norwegian tourist officesabroad, and carried the Norwegian flag at the opening of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After their marriage in 1968, Crown Princess Sonja took over her share of the official duties,both in Norway and abroad. Together and separately, the Crown Prince and the Crown Princessvisited most of Norway and made a great many journeys abroad, including visits to Australia, Thai-land, Malaysia, India, China, Tanzania, Latin America and the USA as well as to most of thecountries of Europe. Crown Prince Harald also did what he could to promote Norwegian business interests abroad, but only insofar as this did not interfere with his domestic duties.
On 21 January 1991, King Harald took his oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Queen Sonjaaccompanied him at this historic event which took place in the national assembly - the Storting. Ithad been 69 years since a queen had last entered the national assembly. Queen Sonja waspresent again in 1993 during the ceremonial opening of the Storting. At his own wish, King Harald was consecrated on June 23, 1991 in the Nidaros Cathedral inTrondheim. Later in the year, the royal couple went on a ten-day post-consecration tour in thesouthern half of Norway. The following year, they completed the tour with a 22-day trip to the country's four northern counties. As King and Queen, Harald and Sonja have carried outnumerous representation duties at home and abroad.
At present, the Royal Family resides at King Harald's childhood home, Skaugum, in Asker, just outside Oslo. However, they intend to move to the Royal Palace at a later date. Skaugum, whichwas a wedding gift from King Olav, covers a total of 325 acres and is run as a farm with livestockand cultivated fields.
Battiscombe, Georgina. Queen Alexandra (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1969).
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (New York: Simon&Schuster, 1994), 759p.
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