Having just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will be staying at Kongsseteren, the family's private residence near Oslo, for Christmas. The prince's marriage to the former waitress, who has a young son from a previous relationship, raised a few eyebrows at first, but now she and five-year-old Marius are very popular, and there has been a flood of presents for them both from members of the public.
On the night before Christmas, the family - which includes King Harald's uncle and cousins - sits down to a dinner of cod or grilled pork, with an English plum pudding for dessert, a relic of Queen Maud's reign. The tree, which does not arrive until December 24, is decorated by the royals, and the presents are laid out on a series of low tables. Norwegian royals give the Christmas Eve service a miss, preferring instead to congregate at the chapel of Holmenkollen on Christmas Day itself. The church is packed to the rafters for the music-oriented service, which members of the general public also attend.
King Harald and Queen Sonja were looking forward to have the whole family with them for a traditional Christmas celebration at the royal family's timber lodge in the hills above Oslo. Two longtime guests, however, will be missed.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit came home for the holidays late last week, after finishing up a fall semester of studies in London. Mette-Marit's son Marius came home with them, but he was expected to spend this Christmas with his father.
Also back home in Oslo is Princess Martha Louise, who just finished a month-long concert tour with the Oslo Gospel Choir. The pregnant princess and her husband, author Ari Behn, will join the king and queen at the lodge known as Kongsseteren.
There will be at least two empty places at the table this year, however. King Harald's Danish cousin Count Flemming died last summer, as did his great uncle Prince Carl of Sweden. Both had been fixtures at the Norwegian royals' Christmas celebrations.
Other relatives were expected to filter in during the week. Kongsseteren is a popular place to go, seemingly plucked right out of a fairy tale with its old timber walls, crackling fireplaces, lit candles and traditional decorations.
Norway's royal family posed for this Christmas photo at Akershus Fortress, just before they laid wreaths on the graves of Norway's former monarchs. Missing from the photo is Princess Martha Louise, who was still on a concert tour with the Oslo Gospel Choir.
__________________ It's clever, but is it art? ~Rudyard Kipling
King Harald's New Year's speech to the nation
In his speech to the nation on New Year's Eve, King Harald focused on the increasing problem of bullying.
As a matter of fact, bullying and the respect for other people were the main themes in a speech which was notably different from the King's earlier talks to the nation at New Year.
The King began by quoting a letter from a nine-year-old girl, in which she relates her experience with bullying and fighting at school.
-I would like to have a reply which shows that you have understood what I mean, the girl wrote in her letter to the King.
And the King had answered that he fully understood what she and others are relating in their letters to the Royal Palace.
-Children often express in a simple and comprehensible way what many of us think. Without using difficult words and phrases they manage to relate their everyday, and it may be a difficult one, the King said, pointing to the fact that bullying had lately become a topical theme.
-Mobbing has existed at all times. It is not a new phenomenon,- but something has happened in our society which is different from earlier times. More and more often we read of bullying and episodes of violence marked by ruthlessness and brutality. More and more people experience fear every day. It happens already in kindergarten and in the schoolyard, King Harald said, also touching upon bullying in the workplace and in the media.
-The mobbers and their victims are many, the King said, stressing that this was something we could not live with.
-Respect is necessary if we human beings are to learn to live together in a good way. However, we must learn to respect ourselves in order to feel respect for others. Anyone who stands for something and has an identity will develop a good self image, the King said. In his opinion, to be centered on success and looks would in no way increase self respect nor create inner security.
-We must re-instate the word compassion, and in cooperation with the young people themselves debate our values, - a debate that is not simple. It is difficult to explain to the young that they cannot behave in certain ways which they again and again observe on the TV screen.
-The media is very powerful, and the sensational has always been more attractive than than the balanced, said the King, who also claimed that ridicule and direct personal attacks have become a part of our everyday life.
King Harald ended his speech by wishing the Norwegian people a Happy New Year with mutual respect for each other.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have completed their move to the renovated royal estate Skaugum in Asker and they will celebrate their first Christmas there with members of the crown princess' family.
Queen Sonja and a convalescent King Harald, recovering from bladder cancer surgery, will host their daughter princess Martha Louise and her family - husband Ari Behn and their daughter Maud Angelica - for the Christmas holidays.
wow. That is the first time I think I have read an article saying a royal couple will spend Christmas with the non-royal by blood's family instead of the royal family.
It seems like everyone who marries into a royal family has to put their family second when it comes to Christmas.
Location: East of the sun and west of the moon, United States
""Queen Sonja and a convalescent King Harald, recovering from bladder cancer surgery, will host their daughter princess Martha Louise and her family - husband Ari Behn and their daughter Maud Angelica - for the Christmas holidays."
Well, it's the same with all couples. Alternating holidays. But I wonder if they want the king to be around less people. Easier on him to have less people around while he's recovering. Less noise. Even if it's only 3 more people.
Polfoto - 23 December 2003 - The Norwegian Royal Family gathered at the royal castle on Dec. 23rd. Queen Sonja, Princess Märtha Louise her husband Ari Behn and their daughter Maud Angelica, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit. Photo: Vidar Ruud
Queen Sonja looks so festive in the Polfoto pictures. That deep red looks great on her. Everybody else is equally festively dressed up, especially Maud and Martha Louise.
And Queen Sonja looks thrilled to be with her first granddaughter for their first Christmas together. Imagine how happy she will be next year: 2 grandchildren and King Harald healthy and with the family again.
Can anyone tell me if the pictures of Haakon and Mette-Marit and Marius were taken at their new home? Or were these pictures taken at the royal palace where the pictures with the Queen, Martha Louise, Ari and Maud were also taken?
Originally posted by Alexandria@Dec 23rd, 2003 - 1:52 pm Polfoto - 23 December 2003 - Photo: Vidar Ruud
What a great photo! The only one missing is King Harald. I imagine he wishes he could have been included in this festive photograph. Little Maud Angelica has certainly grown into a very beautiful baby who no doubt has smiles for her grandmother. Can't wait until next year when the "new arrival" will be present!
Originally posted by Alexandria@Dec 23rd, 2003 - 1:58 pm Originally posted by nicoline:
CP Haakon has always appeared "devoted" to Marius. To me, that's quite rare among "stepdads". Look how close he seems to be in this photo with Marius. These are wonderful shots, Nicoline. Thanks for posting them.