Norway Norway's royal family coat of arms

The Norwegian royal family

From left: Princess Martha Louise with Maud Angelica Behn, Queen Sonja with Leah Isadora Behn,
Prince Haakon with Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Princess Mette Marit with Prince Sverre Magnus,
Marius Borg Hoiby and King Harald


Originally linked to Sweden, Norway was united with Denmark in 1380 under the same king and, as a result, was drawn into the Napoleonic Wars and an alliance with the French in the early part of the 19th century. In the political manoeuvrings which followed, Denmark ended up ceding Norway to Sweden in 1814. And although it retained its constitution and parliament, Norway was federated to Sweden and forced to accept that country's royal family as its own.

When that union was dissolved in 1905, Prince Carl of Denmark, the son of the king of Denmark and Princess Louise of Norway and Sweden, was invited to take over the throne of Norway. After a national referendum - which he had requested - showed that four out of five voters were in favour of his accession, Prince Carl agreed. He took on the name Haakon VII and moved into the royal palace in Oslo with his queen, Maud, and their young son Olav.

On April 9, 1940, Germany invaded Norway and the king and his family were forced to flee the capital in the middle of the night. In June, the country fell to the invading forces and King Haakon set up a government-in-exile in London, sending his family to safety in the United States.

When, at the end of the war, the royal family returned to Oslo, they did so to a rapturous welcome.

Upon his death in 1957, Haakon was succeeded by Crown Prince Olav, popular with the Norwegian people as a result of his role as commander of the armed forces during the war. Very much a man of the people, Olav died in 1991, and was followed by Crown Prince Harald V who has perpetuated his father's egalitarian style of rule.

King Harald and Queen Sonja's children, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Martha Louise, have proved extremely popular members of the next generation of young, modern European royals. Crown Prince Haakon's courtship of Mette-Marit was initially a subject of controversy due to her past and status as a single mother. She soon won the public around, however, and their 2001 nuptials were greeted with widespread celebration. In 2004 Mette-Marit gave birth to daughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra who becomes Norway's first ever female heir to the throne.

Princess Martha Louise married writer Ari Behn, in a romantic Trondheim ceremony in 2002 and gave birth in 2003 to baby daughter Maud.

The official royal website can be found at www.kongehuset.no