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King Charles IIINorway

Royal Relations: How Charles III is linked to Harald V of Norway

There have always been close links between the Norwegian and British royal houses, all the way back to the Viking era when Norwegian kings also ruled over parts of what is today Britain. Fortunately, in modern times, the relationship has been somewhat more peaceful than it was 1000 years ago.

King Harald and King Charles are second cousins once removed. King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom are the great-grandparents of the Norwegian monarch and the great-great-grandparents of the British monarch. King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra had six children. One of them was a daughter, Maud. She married into the Danish Royal Family; her mother had, after all, been born a Danish princess. Maud’s marriage with Prince Carl took a dramatic turn in 1905. When Norway became independent, it needed a new monarchy. The Norwegian delegation asked Prince Carl to be king. He took the name Haakon, and Maud became Queen of Norway.

When King Haakon became King of Norway in 1905, two things influenced the election. One was that he was married to Princess Maud, daughter of British King Edward VII. The other was that the couple already had an heir to the throne, their son Alexander, who was renamed Olav on his father’s succession. King Haakon and Queen Maud lived mainly in England before coming to Norway. The Queen also retained her British home at Appleton House until she died in 1938.

After moving to Norway, Queen Maud maintained a solid connection to the country of her birth and usually visited over the winter months. These bonds were also important when King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav fled to London during World War II. King Olav also had strong ties to Britain. He was born at Appleton House and studied in Oxford.

Crown Prince, later King, Olav married Swedish Princess Märtha, who became Crown Princess of Norway. Unfortunately, Märtha died before she could become Queen of Norway, but before she died, she gave the Norwegians three royal children. This was the present king, Harald V, and his two sisters, Princess Astrid and Princess Ragnhild.

In the United Kingdom, another of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra’s children became monarchs. Following his father’s death, George V became King; he was the brother of Queen Maud of Norway. He married Mary of Teck, and the couple had six children. Their second son later became King George VI, a first cousin of Olav. George VI is, of course, the grandfather of King Charles III.

When King Charles III was born in 1948, three years had passed since King Haakon returned to Norway after the Second World War. The ties were strong, so Queen Elizabeth chose to name her first-born son, a future king, after her favourite uncle, Prince Carl. King Haakon of Norway was then an obvious choice as the then-Prince Charles’s godfather.

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About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.