Norway's history is long and rich, but its current monarchy is relatively young. The Norwegian royal family, belonging to the House of Glücksburg, hasn't been on the throne for as long as many other monarchies, but these royals sure are making the best of their time in power. They are an interesting and eclectic bunch.
There was a time where kings held all power over the people they ruled. These days, most royal families are figureheads and symbols. They don't make the laws, as that duty is left to the officials elected by the people. Norway has a monarch, with King Harald as King, but he doesn't rule or hold political power as kings did in the olden days.
King Harald, his mother, and siblings fled their native land during WWII but returned following the war. He attended Oslo University and then went on to Cavalry Officers' Candidate School at Trandum before graduating from the Norwegian Military Academy. He also attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he excelled in sailing. The King represented his country in this event at three separate Olympic games.
King Harald fell in love with a commoner, Sonja Haraldsen, in the 1960s. This match was unprecedented, as it is common for royals to be matched with other royals or persons in high standing. The future King and his love interest dated in secret for years before he finally told his father, the King, that if it wasn't going to be Sonja, it wasn't going to be anyone. The couple wed in 1968. They welcomed two children into their royal family, a son and a daughter.
As a young girl, Sonja Haraldsen would have never believed in her wildest dreams that she would someday sit upon a royal throne. As life would have it, Sonja and the future king were meant to be together. After weathering years of loving one another in secret, the pair were finally married in 1968. Upon the death of her father-in-law, Sonja became the first Queen Consort of Norway in over 52 years. Thus far into her reign, the Queen established the Princess Märtha Louise's Fund, geared towards helping children with disabilities, and has devoted time and resources to working with refugees. She has served as the Vice President of the Red Cross and has promoted inclusion and equality within the Norwegian schools.
The Queen of Norway is a lover of music and the arts. Her passion is photography, and she is an accomplished printmaker. Queen Sonja has been a part of numerous exhibitions, won several awards for her work, and has even opened her own art stable, a space where art and culture can be celebrated and revered.
Crown Prince Haakon
Crown Prince Haakon is the only son of King Harald and Queen Sonja. He stands next in line for the Norwegian throne. Named for his paternal grandfather, Prince Haakon went the way of his predecessors and first spent time serving in a branch of the Norwegian military forces, specifically the Navy. He later traveled overseas to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in political science.
As his father had done years before him, Crown Prince Haakon also married a commoner. His choice of bride was a controversial one, as the woman he chose to wed was a single mother with a questionable past. Haakan's future wife, Mette-Marit, was big into the rave scene, and her son's father had a criminal record involving drugs. The people of Norway were disapproving of the union, but the couple wed regardless. They have two children together. Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway and Prince Sverre Magnus.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
Before becoming a crown princess of a nation, Mette-Marit was a single mom living her wild life. Just before meeting Prince Haakon, Mette-Marie was going through a rebellious phase. She and the Prince met at a music festival, and it was essentially love at first sight. The public was floored that their beloved prince would take a royal wife with little education, who kept company with questionable characters and who knew nothing of royal life. Mette-Marie and her future husband defied all odds and wed anyway.
Now a royal princess and mother to two royal children, Princess Mette-Marie has done much good in her time donning the crown, but she has also stirred up serious controversy. She serves as a Patron of the Red Cross and serves on several organizations. Along with her husband, she established The Crown Prince and Crown Princess's Foundation, which aims to support young people of Norway in leadership and integration endeavors.
Not all she has done has garnished support and positivity, however. She was involved in helping a Norwegian couple become parents via surrogacy in 2012, even though it is widely known that the practice is illegal in Norway. She and her royal husband also came under fire for their publicized friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Princess Ingrid Alexandra
Next in line for the throne is Prince Haakan and Princess Mette-Marie's eldest daughter, Ingrid Alexandra. The young princess attends Elvebakken upper secondary school in Oslo. While she attends some public ceremonies with her royal family and has expressed an early interest in environmental issues, Princess Ingrid is like many other teens regarding her interests and leisure activities. She enjoys skiing and kickboxing and has an affinity for water sports. She won the Norwegian surfing championship for juniors in 2020. Surfing royals, not typical, but the Norwegian royal family seems anything but typical.
His Highness Prince Sverre Magnus
Prince Haakan and Princess Mette-Marie also have a son together, Prince Sverre Magnus. Born after his older sister, Sverre Magnus is your typical teen. He attends royal events with his esteemed family and was notoriously caught on camera "dabbing" during the King and Queen's birthday celebrations. Lucky for him, his royal family is far from stuffy, and no one seemed to give a rip over his antics.
This young royal enjoys typical activities of kids his age. He loves biking, especially cross and BMX biking, and water sports. Like his sister, he has taken to surfing. Surfing is a bit of a family pastime for this royal brood as Mette-Marie's son enjoys the hobby, and the King has taken his family on holiday specifically to hit the waves.
Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise
The King and Queen have a daughter, Princess Märtha Louise. Born older than her brother, who is next in line for the crown, this princess is fourth to rule behind her brother and his two children. Märtha Louise has followed a very different path compared to other royals. She claims to be able to communicate with angels and animals and went as far as to start her own school to pursue her beliefs. Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn in 2012. The pair had three daughters together before divorcing in 2017. Two years later, Ari Behn would pass away.
There is nothing this princess does that doesn't raise eyebrows. Recently she became involved with an American Shaman named Durek Verrett. While this Norwegian princess has had her titles removed, and her children are untitled as well, she still falls in line for the throne behind three of her family members.
The King was raised alongside two sisters, the late Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid. Younger sister, Astrid, stepped up and worked alongside her father, following her mother's early passing. She acted as the first lady of the court until her brother wed. Astrid studied economics and politics at Oxford and following her royal duties at court. She went on to marry a divorced commoner, Johan Martin Ferner, in 1961. They were wed until his passing in 2015, and during their time together, they raised five children.
Connection to the British Throne
Many royal families around the globe are connected through bloodlines or marriage. While the Norwegian family isn't as well known as some other European royal families, they do have some wildly famous family members. King Harald of Norway and Queen Elizabeth of England are second cousins.
In fact, when Germany invaded Norway, King Haakan and Crown Prince Olav (the current King of Norway's grandfather and father) fled to English soil, where their royal British relatives greeted them.
Perhaps the Most Progressive Royals Around
There are 44 ruling monarchies in the world, with 12 of those royal houses being in Europe. The Norwegian royal family might be the most progressive royals to walk palace halls, which is a title worth having. Both the King and the Crown Prince broke long-standing traditions and married true love matches and commoners. Furthermore, Princess Mette-Marit's son from a previous relationship lives on a different continent and does his own thing. His family loves and supports him but doesn't expect him to perform any royal duties. He lives out in California, where he catches waves and hangs ten.
When it comes to human rights, the Norwegian royal family leads the pack. The King is the only reigning monarch who stands by his views for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. He speaks out vehemently against social injustice, racism, and religious intolerance. King Harald is one of those kings that you want to go on living forever. Sadly, his time will come to step down, and his son will take his throne, but the Norwegian people can rest assured that they are in good and capable hands as this royal family is moving in the right direction.