Ari Behn, the former husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and the father of her three children, has died at the age of 47.
The Royal Palace confirmed the news in a statement on Christmas Day, saying Mr Behn took his own life.
In a statement this evening, King Harald said: “It is with great sadness that the Queen and I have received the message of Ari Behn’s passing.
“Ari has been an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him.”
Palace manager Geir Håkonsund said: “It is with great sadness in our hearts that we, the very closest relatives of Ari Behn, must today announce that he has taken his own life.
“We ask for respect for our privacy in the future.”
A statement from the Crown Prince Family reads: “For us, Ari was a good friend, a dear family member and a wonderful uncle, with whom we shared many of life’s small and big moments. It is with great sadness that we have received the message of his passing away.”
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “I would like to express my deepest condolences to Ari Behn’s family, leaving behind his tragic passing away. My thoughts go to everyone who loved him.”
Ari Behn married Princess Märtha Louise in Nidaros Cathedral on May 24, 2002.
Their first daughter, Maud Angelica, was born in 2003, and their second daughter Leah Isadora came to the world in 2005. The couple’s third daughter, Emma Tallulah, was born in 2008.
Royal Central’s Senior Europe Correspondent in Oslo, Oskar Aanmoen reports that the news has come as a huge shock to the Norwegian people, with all TV channels and newspapers leading on the story.