The existence of a Norwegian monarch can be dated back to 857 with the unification of Norway. The first King of Norway was Harald Hårfagre; since then 64 monarchs have reigned over Norway, including the current King. The current Norwegian Royal Family continue the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
King Harald V
Born on the 21st February 1937, Harald was the first Prince to have been born in Norway since Olav IV in 1370. The King has two older sisters, Princess Ragnhild (b.1930-2012), and Princess Astrid (b.1932).
Harald attended university in Oslo and Oxford. At the latter, the then-Crown Prince developed an interest in rowing. He is also a keen sailor and, like many Royals, has taken part in the Olympic games three times: Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968) and Munich (1972).
Upon his father’s death, Harald ascended the throne as Harald V on the 17th January 1991. His consecration followed six months later on the 23rd June 1991 and took place in the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.
King Harald became the first ever reigning monarch to visit Antarctica. The visit took place on 10th February 2015. The King was able to finally visit the King Harald Coast, that was named in his honour following his birth.
Sonja Haraldsen was born on the 4th July 1937 in Oslo. Although she has spent most of life in Norway, Sonja attended a finishing school in Lusanne, Switzerland. She then returned to Oslo to complete a degree in French, English and Art History.
After dating in secret for nine years, the engagement of Crown Prince Harald to Sonja was announced. The Prince’s desire to marry a commoner was finally accepted after he informed his father that were he not allowed to marry Sonja, he would remain unmarried for life. As such an outcome would threaten the future of the Monarchy, his father conceded and gave his blessing.
The couple married on the 29th August 1968. Upon her marriage, Sonja became Her Royal Highness Crown Princess of Norway. The couple went on to have two children, Princess Märtha Louise (b. 1971) and Crown Prince Haakon.
Outside of her Royal duties, one of Queen Sonja’s main interests is art, particularly photography. In 2011 she established the Queen Sonja Nordic Print Award with the aim of promoting graphic art.
Crown Prince Haakon
The youngest child of King Harald and Queen Sonja, Haakon Magnus was born on the 20th July 1973. Although absolute primogeniture was granted in Norway in 1990, the new law did not have a retroactive affect and so Haakon remains heir to the throne as opposed to his older sister, Märtha.
His education took him to the USA where he studied for a Bachelors degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He then went on to complete a Masters in developmental studies at the London School of Economics. Haakon has also served as a member of the Royal Norwegian Navy.
The Crown Prince is a keen musician, attending music festivals throughout Europe when he was younger. In 2011, he put his guitar skills to use by accompanying Norwegian band, Katzenjammer, on their christmas song “Vi tenner våre lykter” (We Light Our Lanterns). Proceeds from the album of the same name went to ‘The Crown Prince and Crown Princess Funds’.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
One of four, Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was born on the 19th August 1973. During her teen years she was a keen volleyball player and qualified as a referee and coach. It was in the late 1990s, while attending a garden party, as part of the Quart Festival, that she met her future husband.
The engagement was one met with controversy due Mette-Marit’s status as a single mother to son Marius, born in 1997. Following rumours of her involvement with Oslo’s drug scene, she admitted to previous drug use. Despite this, Haakon’s father, Harald, was supportive due to his own struggles in being allowed to marry Sonja.
The wedding took place on the 25th August 2001 and since then, Mette-Marit has moved on from the controversy the plagued the start of her marriage, to become one of the most popular members of the Royal Family.
The Crown Princess is a close supporter of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). She has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the organisation since 2006 alongside Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
Children of the Crown Prince Couple:
Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born 21st January 2004 and, due to the removal of male primogeniture, is next in line to the throne following her father. Upon her ascension, Ingrid will become the first Queen Regnant of Norway since the 15th Century.
Prince Sverre Magnus, born 3rd December 2005, is the couple’s second child. Interestingly, Sverre precedes his sister in the line to the British throne (Prince Haakon is Prince Charles’ third cousin), due to the Succession to the Crown Act, only affecting those born after the 28th October 2011.