Though King Harald and Queen Sonja are marking 30 years on the throne this year, there’s another anniversary in Norway to commemorate as well: Crown Prince Haakon’s 30 years as the heir apparent to the throne.
Born on 20 July 1973, Haakon has been destined for the Norwegian throne since birth, as absolute primogeniture had not yet taken effect in Norway until 1990 (otherwise, his older sister, Princess Märtha Louise, would have been the heir). In his early years, Haakon attended royal functions only as necessary, but as he became the Crown Prince of Norway in 1991, his role and responsibilities have increased.
Only 17 when his father ascended to the throne, Haakon began the traditional royal route for an heir to the throne: military service and higher education. He joined the Royal Norwegian Navy and studied at the Norwegian Naval Academy before spending a year at sea aboard missile torpedo boats and other naval vessels. His current military ranks are Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy; and General in both the Norwegian Army and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
Haakon attended the University of California in Berkley, graduating in 1999 with a political science degree, and followed that up with coursework at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (taking the civil servant introductory course) in 2001. He was also a trainee with the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations, and in 2003, he received a Masters of Science in Development Studies, focusing on international trade and Africa, from the London School of Economics.
Crown Prince Haakon has focused his work in the following areas: sport and outdoor activities; oceans, the environment and sustainability; youth; trade, industry and innovation; and international activities pertaining to development and poverty.
He represents Norway, both home and abroad, in business and trade delegations, and supports initiatives around the world that align with his interests. On several occasions, most recently this past year during his father’s recuperation from heart surgery and quarantining due to the coronavirus, he has stepped in as regent.
In 2001, Crown Prince Haakon married Norwegian born Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a young woman with a controversial past who has since won over the Norwegian public.
The couple have two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, born in 2004, and Prince Sverre Magnus, born in 2005. Haakon is also stepfather to Marius Borg Høiby, who was born in 1997 to Mette-Marit from a previous relationship. Princess Ingrid Alexandra will someday succeed her father as the only the second queen regnant in Norwegian history.
In an interview with Norway’s TV2 this past December, Haakon spoke about his future reign, saying that he doesn’t yet feel prepared and that “I have to do it my way. I must not try to be anyone other than myself, then it will be a little easier. I have many bad sides. It is not like people do not know. I can be a little distant. There are definitely things that could have been better.”
About telling his father about his plans for his reign, Haakon said, “In a way, we talked a lot about this in the 90s as well. He is very aware of the things and is very good to see my situation so that he facilitates it to go as well as possible.”