The suicide of Princess Märtha Louise’s former husband, Ari Behn, was as a huge shock to the entire Norwegian population. Nearly all liked Ari Behn very well, and he had a special place in the heart of the Norwegian people.
The family was open from the beginning about this being a suicide. Something that has increased the focus on mental health in Norway in recent days. Now, Ari Behn’s family and the Norwegian Royal Family have made a joint statement, two days after his death.
“The family is very overwhelmed by the massive support they have received, and it is very touching to see that Ari meant so much to so many people,” said Behn’s manager, Geir Håkonsund, on behalf of the family to Norway’s state TV channel NRK.
Funeral arrangements are uncertain as no announcements have been made regarding it. Queen Sonja is scheduled to open a new art exhibition outside Oslo on January 2nd, and a big media print is expected on Queen this day. It is possible that Queen Sonja will make a comment.
On the same evening that Ari Behn died, quite spontaneously, some people lit candles at the Karl-Johan Monument in front of the Royal Palace. People came throughout the night and early today. This has continued, and now there are almost a thousand candles there. The local church where Ari Behn lived, in Lommedalen, is open today for those who want to go there.
Ari Behn was open with the mental struggles that he had fought in the past, but he had always managed to fight through them. He described his fight against his “inner demons” as a battle he had won. He remained a close friend of Queen Sonja after his divorce and also had a good relationship with Princess Märtha Louise.
Ari Behn had, in recent years, devoted all his time to his own art. He had been incredibly effective, and in the last 12 months, he had painted more than 100 pictures. He held a number of major art exhibitions, the last of which was held in Trondheim in October.