Yesterday it emerged that Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway held meetings with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein after his release from prison. According to VG, Norway’s biggest newspaper, Mette-Marit had meetings with Epstein between 2011 and 2013 – years after his conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
In a statement, the Crown Princess said: “I would never have had anything to do with Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of his criminal acts. I should have investigated Epstein’s past and regret that I did not.”
Of course, the case has received a lot of attention in Norway. One thing is certain, though, that this is a completely different case than that of Prince Andrew. The news was one of the main headlines for “Dagsrevyen”, Norway’s most popular news program on the nation’s largest TV-channel. It was also up for debate about 4 minutes into NRK’s daily debate program.
The media’s verdict on the case is perfectly clear, the Crown Princess cannot be blamed in this case, but the blame for this lies on her advisers and the royal court. It is clear that the opinion of the people and the press is that the royal court should have investigated this better and prevented the Crown Princess from meeting Epstein. It is simply impossible for Crown Princess Mette Marit herself to investigate the past of the thousands of men and women she speaks to throughout the year.
It was the Norwegian newspaper DN that wrote about the news first. Their editor, Kjetil Alstadheim, says the following about the case: “Don’t they have Google at the royal court?”
The Crown Princess also emphasises why she chose to break all contact with Jeffrey Epstein in 2013. The Communication manager at the royal court said to the newspaper DN: “The Crown Princess chose to end contact with Epstein in 2013, partly because she experienced that Epstein was trying to use the connection he had had with the Crown Princess to influence other people.”
However, some say that the Crown Princess also has some responsibility. Mette-Marit has taken this responsibility for her meetings. She has apologised publicly for her meetings with Epseitein and highlights all the good work she has done for victims of human trafficking.
“The most important role of such public figures is to be role models. It is therefore important what the royal house stands up for. It is nice that these actions have been excused, but it places a great responsibility on people in such positions to investigate such matters”, said Mildrid Mikkelsen, leader of the Norwegian Centre for human trafficking to the newspaper VG.