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Who is Crown Prince Haakon of Norway?

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon. Photo Credit: Jørgen Gomnæs, the Royal Court.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon. Photo Credit: Jørgen Gomnæs, the Royal Court.

The fourth edition of “Who Is” focuses on another Scandinavian royal, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

As the youngest of King Harald and Queen Sonja’s two children, Haakon Magnus was born on 20 July 1973. He has one older sister, Princess Märtha Louise, but due to the Salic law at the time, she was not allowed to inherit the throne. This law was changed in 1990 to absolute primogeniture, but only impacted those born after the ruling.

He was christened on 20 September 1973, with King Olav V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, Prince Carl Bernadotte, King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margarethe of Denmark, and Anne, Princess Royal serving as godparents. He grew up in his father’s childhood home on the Skaugum Estate in Asker, Norway. It was here that he and his sister attended the local nursery school, primary school, and secondary school. Their parents wished for them to have a childhood that was as similar to other Norwegian children at the time. The Crown Prince attended Kristelig Gymnasium and received his diploma in 1992. While there, he focused on business economics and law. From Kristelig, he moved on to KNM Harald Hårfagre, a naval training school. He spent five weeks in basic training before he spent a year at the Officers Candidate School for the Navy at Horten. He graduated in 1995.

The next year he moved to California, in the United States to study at the University of California at Berkeley. There he received his Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1999. Autumn 2000 found HRH as a member of Norway’s third delegation to the UN General Assembly. The next year he was in the training programme for diplomats under the Foreign Ministry’s direction. In 2003, he completed his studies at the London School for Economics and Political Science, receiving a Master of Arts degree in development studies, focusing on international trade and Africa. Currently, he is an admiral for the Royal Norwegian Navy and General for the Norwegian Army and Royal Norwegian Air Force.

From 25 November 2003 to 12 April 2004, Crown Prince Haakon was the Regent of Norway while his father was undergoing treatment for bladder cancer and his recovery thereafter. In April to early June 2005, Haakon had to take over regent duties once again, due to his father’s heart problem: aortic stenosis. He and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have the The Crown Prince and Princess’ Foundation, which focuses on youth and young people who are at risk of being left out of the community. Further, the Crown Prince holds many other patronages. He is the patron of the following organizations:

  • 4H Norge – Norwegian 4H Organisation
  • The Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Christian Radich Sail Training Foundation
  • The Ibsen Stage Festival
  • Nordland Music Festival
  • The Northern Light Festival
  • The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation
  • The Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Foundation (NAAF)
  • The Norwegian Band Federation
  • The Norwegian Festival of International Literature
  • The Norwegian International Film Festival
  • Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
  • Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival
  • The Crown Prince and Princess’ Humanitarian Fund

He is also known to have a keen interest in sports and has participated in Olympic ceremonies. For the 1994 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Lillehammer, Norway, he lit the Olympic torch in honour of his father and grandfather. Both were former Olympians.

Haakon met Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby originally in 1996 at the Quart Festival, which is the largest rock festival in Norway. In 1999, not long after his return from the University of California at Berkeley, the pair met again. On 1 December 2000, the Norwegian Royal Court announced that the Crown Prince would marry Mette-Marit the next year. Haakon proposed to Mette-Marit with the engagement ring his grandfather, King Olav V gave to his grandmother and his father to his mother.

The announcement came with much controversy since Mette-Marit was a single mother to a four year old son named Marius Borg Høiby, born on 13 January 1997.  His father had been convicted of drug possession. She had been a frequent partier in her younger days and associated with people known to be in the drug culture. She apologized for this and took the opportunity to condemn drugs a week before she wed Haakon. On 25 August 2001, they were married at Oslo Cathedral. Their first child, a daughter named Princess Ingrid Alexandra, was born on 21 January 2004. She was the first female to be born heir apparent to the Norwegian throne. Prince Sverre Magnus followed on 3 December 2005. Since the union, Haakon has adopted Marius, and the rest of the Norwegian Royal Family have taken Marius in as their own. He is considered a member of the extended royal family and has his own section on the family’s website, just like his two younger siblings.

Haakon holds many honours, both foreign and domestic. His Norwegian honours are Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Defence Service Medal with Laurel Branch, Royal House Centennial Medal, Olav V’s Commemorative Medal, Olav V’s Jubilee Medal, Olav V’s Centenary Medal, King Harald V’s Jubilee Medal 1991-2016, Royal Norwegian Navy Service Medal, Norwegian Reserve Officers Federal Badge of Honour, Naval Society Medal of Merit in gold, and Oslo Military Society Badge of Honour in Gold. He has foreign honours from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Upon his accession to the throne, he is expected to reign as Haakon VIII.

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