It was the first big royal wedding of the 21st century bringing kings, queens, princes and princesses together for a very modern monarchical marriage. The relationship between Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessme Hoiby had been under scrutiny from the moment it became public knowledge. But by the time they took their vows, in front of the ruling houses of Europe, their romance had become one of the most celebrated royal love stories of recent times.Embed from Getty Images
Mette-Marit was far from a typical royal bride. Born in Kristiansand in southern Norway in August 1973, she had grown up enjoying sports and sailing in particular. When she fell in love with the heir to Norway’s throne, she already had a child from a previous relationship while her involvement in what was dubbed the ‘party scene’ in Oslo also caused controversy. The couple announced their engagement in January 2001 and ahead of their wedding, Mette-Marit made a tearful apology in a TV interview for her past links with drugs. It led to a big surge in support for the bride and the wedding.
The bumpy path to the altar was even referenced during the ceremony itself which took place on August 25th 2001 at Oslo Cathedral. During his sermon, Gunnar Stalsett, Bishop of Oslo told the couple ”you have not chosen the easiest path, but love has triumphed”.Embed from Getty Images
The wedding itself underlined the modern nature of the couple. Crown Prince Haakon waited for his bride at the door of the cathedral and he and Mette-Marit then walked down the aisle together. Her four year old son, Marius, was the pageboy while the ceremony itself featured modern and traditional music.
The bride wore a deep ivory dress designed by Ove Harder Finseth. It was an effortlessly simple creation made in an elegantly complicated way. The square cut top with fitted sleeves gave way to a bodice that flowed into a slightly flared skirt. Created in crepe and tulle, it featured a long train that fanned from the full length skirt. The bride’s veil, made of tulle, was around twenty feet long and extended past the train. She carried a strikingly modern bouquet of flowers, shaped into a flowing strip of petals with the bride helping to design its look herself.
Mette-Marit became Crown Princess of Norway as she made her marriage vows and like many a royal bride before her, she chose to wear a tiara on her wedding day. Her diadem was made up of diamond daisies, arranged into a subtle bandeau shape. It was a present to her from her new in laws, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, a sparkling show of support for the new Crown Princess.
The wedding was also notable for its place in the history books. Although it had been less than two years since the last wedding of a European heir to the throne, the start of a new millennium had taken place in between and Haakon and Mette-Marit’s celebration was the first regal marriage of the 21st century. And this much talked about event had an equally well discussed guest list featuring many of the crowned heads of Europe.
And among those attending the celebrations were two more potential royal brides in waiting. One had already announced her engagement and had a regal wedding of her own set to take place in the coming months. Maxima Zorreguieta arrived at the ceremony on the arm of her fiance, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, while his mother, then Queen Beatrix, also attended. However, another woman at the event was also tipped as a future princess.Embed from Getty Images
Eva Sannum, a Norwegian model, had spent months seeing her relationship with Prince Felipe of Spain dissected in the newspapers. Her arrival at Haakon and Mette-Marit’s wedding was seen as another indication that an engagement announcement was imminent. She attended the ceremony itself alone but was photographed with Felipe at the reception. However, months later they confirmed they had split up.Embed from Getty Images
The royal romance celebrated at the wedding itself went from strength to strength. Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have two children together and soon after their their eighteenth wedding anniversary this year they will celebrate the confirmation of their daughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who is in line to one day rule. It may have begun with a controversial royal romance but this regal marriage has stood the test of time.