With the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony tomorrow, let’s take a look at the Scandinavian royals and their connection to the Olympics. Although there haven’t been that many Scandinavian royal competitors, these families are very closely intertwined with the Olympics.
There haven’t been any Swedish Royal Family members who’ve competed in the Olympics, but King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Then Silvia Sommerlath was working at the Olympics as a host and interpreter when she met Crown Prince Carl Gustaf, who was representing the Swedish delegation. Silvia was tasked with acting as a guide for several high-profile guests, and Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was one of them.
He later told the press that they clicked right away, and asked her out for dinner that same day.
You can read more about their love story here.
Although no Swedish royals have competed in the Olympics, they have been an ever-present part of the audience in past Games.
There has only been one Danish Royal Olympian: Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, daughter of Princess Benedikte, and niece of Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Princess Nathalie competed in equestrian in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where her team won a bronze medal, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where her team placed fourth. She was a member of the reserve team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
Although she’s been the only Danish royal competitor, she’s not the only family member entangled in Olympic history: Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary met at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Mary Donaldson, as she was known then, was celebrating with some friends at the Slip Inn Pub in Sydney when she met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, who didn’t reveal his identity to her. He was accompanied by his brother Prince Joachim, and his cousins Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, and friend Prince Felipe of Spain.
Crown Prince Frederik and Mary started talking and realised they shared a lot of common interests, and at the end of the night, Mary slipped him her telephone number. They then began a long-distance relationship and were married in 2004.
One of Crown Princess Mary’s first big international events following her wedding was to attend the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The Danish Royal Family have also sent its members to Olympic Games to represent Denmark.
You can read more about Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s Olympic love story here.
Unlike its fellow Scandinavian countries, Norway has seen two members of its Royal Family compete in the Olympics – two kings, in fact.
Crown Prince Olav of Norway, the future King Olav V, competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, in the sailing discipline, and won a gold medal in the 6m class. Crown Prince Olav, like his Swedish and Danish counterparts, also solidified true love at the Olympics. He secretly became engaged to his future wife, Princess Märtha of Sweden, at the Games, and the couple married a year later.
His son, Crown Prince Harald – now King Harald V – competed in yachting events at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, and the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, although he never medalled. Crown Prince Harald carried the Norwegian flag at the Opening Ceremonies in Tokyo.
Norway has hosted the Winter Olympics on two occasions: once in 1952, with Oslo as the host city; and again in 1994, with Lillehammer as the host city.
At the Oslo Games, which took place eight days after British King George VI died, Princess Ragnhild opened the Games on behalf of her grandfather, King Haakon VII, who was in London for the funeral.
At the Lillehammer Games, King Harald officially opened the Games, and Crown Prince Haakon lit the Olympic cauldron.