Today marks the 44th birthday of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. She is the wife to the heir-apparent of the Norwegian throne, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. Today we take a look at Norway’s future queen consort.
Her Royal Highness was born on 19 August 1973 in Kristiansand, Norway. She has one older sister and two older brothers. Her parents divorced when she was young, and both would eventually remarry. As a child, she spent many weekends on the coast, where she learned to sail.
She completed her upper secondary education at Kristiansand Cathedral School in 1994. For a time, she lived in London and worked for the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce. Mette-Marit would return to Norway and attend Bjørknes Private School before taking the preliminary examinations and exams in information technology and chemistry at Agder University College in 1997. From 2000-2002 she focused on ethics at the University of Oslo. By 2003, Her Royal Highness was taking classes at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. There she took exams on Development-Experience, Theories of Development, HIV/AIDS and Development and The Global Refugee Crisis. In 2012, she had completed her Master of Management degree from Oslo’s BI Norwegian School of Management after beginning part-time courses in 2008.
Her Royal Highness has admitted that she went through a rebellious phase in her younger years. She was a frequent partier and associated with those who were in the drug culture. On 13 January 1997, Mette-Marit gave birth to a son, Marius Borg Høiby, whose father had a drug conviction. Three days before her wedding to Haakon, she told the public at a news conference, “My adolescent rebellion was stronger than most…I have had experiences for which I have paid dearly. I would like to take this occasion to condemn drugs.” She has been well-respected in Norway for being honest about her past.
She initially met her future husband at the Quart Festival in 1996. Three years later the pair would meet again, and they struck up a relationship. Their engagement was announced on 1 December 2000. Her engagement ring was the same engagement ring King Harald used to propose to Queen Sonja and that King Olav used to propose to the Crown Prince’s grandmother, Princess Märtha of Sweden.
They married on 25 August 2001 at Oslo Cathedral. They will celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary next week. Together they have two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra (born 2004) and Prince Sverre Magnus (born 2005).
Mette-Marit has four godchildren: Prince Christian of Denmark, Prince Odysseas-Kimon of Greece and Denmark, her niece, Emma Tallulah Behn, and Prince Oscar of Sweden.
The 2011 Norwegian terror attacks on 22 July hit very close to home for the Crown Princess. When the lone-wolf terrorist Anders Behring Breivik began his attack on Utøya island in Buskerud, Mette-Marit’s step-brother Trond Berntsen was one of his first victims. She and her husband attended the memorial services last month for the 5th anniversary of the attacks.
Since becoming the Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit has worked to raise awareness for causes that are close to her heart. She holds patronages for the following organisations:
- Amandus Film Festival
- FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development
- Full-rigged Ship Sørlandet
- Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival
- Oslo International Church Music Festival
- Risør Festival of Chamber Music
- The Hamsun Days
- The Førde International Folk Music Festival
- The Norwegian Council for Mental Health
- The Norwegian Guide and Scout Association
- The Norwegian Library Association
- The Norwegian Red Cross
As a UN Special Representative for UNAIDS, the Crown Princess travels to support different programmes in various countries across the world. In April of this year, Her Royal Highness was in Tanzania, where she visited UNAIDS programmes in the country. The Norwegian Royal Court has said, “She is particularly focused on women’s health, and has worked for many years to strengthen youth leadership in the AIDS effort.”
The Crown Princess is an avid reader who helps promote the literature tour that takes place in Norway each summer. For the past few years, she has invited the public to join her on the literacy train, which travels throughout Norway. In 2014, Her Royal Highness told The Norway Post, “From when I was a child and throughout my youth books have meant a lot to me. I read just as many books now as when I was young, so it has meant almost as much to me throughout my entire life.” She makes sure her three children are reading something every day.
In 2013, she auctioned off twenty-three items of her clothing on Bloppis (Norwegian eBay) to raise money for Eco-agents, which is an environmental charity in Norway. A pair of her Dolce & Gabbana boots sold for 2700 Norwegian Kroner, roughly £273. She said that reusing clothes instead of discarding them was “a fun and easy way” to protect the environment. In the end, she raised close to £28000 for the organisation.
Her Royal Highness has a Twitter account and an Instagram account that she uses to promote her charity work and give small insights into her family life. You can follow the Crown Princess on Twitter here and Instagram here.
It is believed she will celebrate her 44th birthday privately with her family in Norway today.
Happy 44th Birthday, Your Royal Highness!