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Granny Knows Best: The grandparents of Harald V

Photo: Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

King Harald V is the third king of modern Norway. He is the only son of King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha (born a Princess of Sweden).

This is the story of his four grandparents. They consist of the first king of modern Norway, an English princess, a Swedish prince and a Danish princess. His paternal grandfather and his maternal grandmother were brother and sister.

Haakon VII, King of Norway

Born Prince Carl of Denmark, in 1905 he was offered the throne of Norway after it dissolved its personal union with Sweden. He became the first king of an independent Norway in 518 years. He took the old Norse name of Haakon – the name of six kings of the old Kingdom of Norway.

He was born on 3 August 1872 in Copenhagen as the second son of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark (later King Frederick VIII) and his wife, Crown Princess Louise. He joined the Royal Danish Navy and remained in service until 1905.

On the 22 July 1896, in Buckingham Palace, he married his first cousin, Princess Maud of Wales, youngest daughter of the then Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). Their only child, Prince Alexander (later King Olav V) was born in 1903.

By Karl Anderson –,_1915.jpg originally from Flickr: Portrett av Kong Haakon VII / King Haakon VII, 1915Author: Nasjonalbiblioteket, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

In 1905, Norway dissolved its union with Sweden and began the search for a king of their own. Prince Carl became a favourite because he was descended from the old Norwegian kings. He was married to a member of the British Royal Family, and he already had a son and heir. He was offered the throne which he accepted after seeking the permission of his grandfather, King Christian IX of Denmark. He died on 21 September 1957 aged 85, after a reign of 52 years.

Maud, Queen of Norway

Princess Maud of Wale was the youngest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. She married Prince Carl of Denmark who, in 1905, was elected the first king of an independent Norway in 518 years.

Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria was born at Marlborough House on 26 November 1869. As the youngest daughter of the then Prince and Princess of Wales, she was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married her first cousin Prince Carl of Denmark on 22 July 1896 in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace. Her father gave the couple a gift of Appleton House on the Sandringham Estate where Maud stayed on her frequent visits to England.

The couple lived in Denmark where her husband served in the Royal Navy. Their only child, Prince Alexander (later renamed Olav) was born in 1903. In 1905, her husband was offered the throne of Norway after it dissolved its personal union with Sweden. He took the title of King Haakon VII, and the couple moved to Norway.

By Peder O. Aune –, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Maud quickly adapted to life in her new country. She played a dominant role within the court and family but a discreet role in public. She took her role as Queen seriously and used clothes and jewellery to their full effect to make a regal impression. She favoured charities involving children and animals, and she encouraged artists and musicians.

She never lost her love for Britain, however, and visited there annually. Her last public appearance in Britain was at the coronation of King George VI in May 1937. During her visit the following year, she became ill, and after surgery, she died unexpectedly of heart failure on 20 November 1938. She was the last surviving child of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Västergötland

Carl was a Swedish prince and a direct ancestor of three current reigning European monarchs. He is the grandfather to King Harald V of Norway and great-grandfather to King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

By Bernadotte Library –, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Carl was born on 27 February 1861 in Stockholm. He was the third son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway and his wife, Queen Sophie. On 27 August 1897, he married Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. The couple had never met, and the marriage had been arranged by their fathers. However, they enjoyed a long and harmonious marriage. They had four children: Margretha in 1899, Märtha in 1901 (who married Crown Prince Olav of Norway), Astrid in 1905 (who married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium – future King Leopold III), and Carl in 1911 who gave up his rights to the Swedish throne to marry a noblewoman. Carl died in Stockholm on 24 October 1951.

Princess Ingeborg, Duchess of Västergötland

Ingeborg was a Danish princess who married Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway. Five current reigning European monarchs have a connection to her. She is the grandmother to King Harald V, great-grandmother to King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, great-aunt to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and great-great-aunt to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Ingeborg was born on 2 August 1878 in Copenhagen. She was the second daughter and fifth child of Crown Prince Frederick (future King Frederick VIII) of Denmark and Crown Princess Louise. On 27 August 1897, she married Prince Carl of Sweden, a marriage arranged by their fathers. She would later admit she had married “a complete stranger.” However, the marriage was long and harmonious. The couple would have four children.

By Photo: Jaeger, Stockholm. – Private photograph from personal collection. Initially uploaded in en-wiki by en:User:Mariaflores1955 – see en:File:Ingeborg of Sweden.jpg.Immediate source: Waternberg Trust, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In the early years of her marriage, she was given a high profile in the Swedish Royal Family because Queen Sophia rarely attended public events, and Crown Princess Victoria was often abroad for health reasons. She raised her children simply and taught them how to perform domestic chores. She was admired for her handling of a personal financial crisis when a bank she and her husband had invested in crashed. She died in Stockholm on 12 March 1958.