1905-2005, October biography: Märtha Louise

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Feb 20, 2003
United States
Princess Märtha Louise was born September 22, 1971 to Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja at Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway. She was baptised at the Royal Palace Chapel on October 19th and named after her grandmother Crown Princess Märtha, wife of King Olav and her great grand mother Queen Louise, mother of King Haakon. Her godparents included King Olav V of Norway, Princess Ragnhild, Princess Margaretha of Denmark, Prince Carl Bernadotte, Count Flemming of Rosenborg, Dagny Haraldsen, Haakon Haraldsen, Nils J. Astrup and Ilmi Horn. The princess' other paternal aunt, Princess Astrid was also in attendance at her baptism.

At just 6 months of age, Märtha Louise smiled for the photographers during a photo session at Skaugum. Later on May 17th, Harald held her aloft in his arms as she appeared on the steps of Skaugum for her first National Day celebrations. Again, the photographers snapped her picture as she neared her first birthday.

Social graces were taught very early in life and as a little girl, she learned to curtsy as a sign of proper respect to her grandfather, King Olav.

When her baby brother, Haakon Magnus was born in 1973, she carried a small bouquet of flowers to her mother at Rikshopitalet even though she was only two years old. Later she welcomed her brother home with a big hug, but, not to be overlooked, she had a tantrum during his baptism in September of the same year.

Except for the organized photo shoots at Skaugum, Märtha Louise and her brother, Haakon Magnus were shielded from press during their childhood.

Märtha Louise went to kindergarten in Asker in 1977 then she attended Smedstad School Asker in the fall of 1978. She was accompanied to her first day of school by her parents who took a profound interest in her education.

The little princess learned to ski and ride horses and she learned to play the piano and the flute and to sing and dance.

She broke new grounds as the first royal to appear on television when, in 1981, she took part in a children’s programme called “Titten Tei og Trond-Viggo Torgersen”.

During the Spanish State Visit in 1982, the municipality of Oslo gave a luncheon at the Town Hall for the Spanish Royal Couple. A group of children from the Norwegian Folk Museum amongst whom were Märtha Louise and Haakon Magnus performed folkdancing for the royal guests.

The princess was confirmed in Asker kirke on May 11, 1986. She wore a bunad covered with a white surplice for the occasion. King Olav gave an afternoon reception at the Palace and a gala evening celebration in her honour.

On her eighteenth birthday (1989), Märtha Louise received her first tiara, a gift from King Olav which consisted of quaking barley ears in diamonds and pearls made at Garrads in London. Märtha Louise also received a Volkswagon car.

After obtaining her upper secondary diploma from Kristelig Gymnasium in 1990, Märtha Louise moved to England to study English literature at Oxford University and to perfect her equestrian skills at Waterstock Training Centre. She later moved to Arena UK in Lincolnshire for further training in showjumping.

When Märtha Louise's grandfather, King Olav died on January 17, 1991, her father ascended to the throned as King Harald V. King Olav's funeral took place on the 30th of the same month. King Harald's new reign was blessed in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on June 23rd. Märtha Louise and her brother, Haakon accompanied their parents to various cities during their post enthronement tour of Norway.

Märtha Louise became a United Nation youth embassdor and in April 1992, she visited refugee camps between the Ivory Coast and Liberia. She continued her studies at the Bjørknes Private School in Oslo in the fall of 1992. She received the Order of the Elephant from Queen Margrethe during the Queen's State Visit to Norway, also in 1992.
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In August 1993, Märtha Louise celebrated her parents' silver wedding anniversary on the Silver Cruise, a 3-day cruise for forty royals through Nordfjord and Sunnmøre in the north-western part of Norway. In the fall, Märtha Louise began physiotherapy studies at Oslo College at Bislet. Here is an article that appeared in www.norwaves.com.

norinform/9 (www.norwaves.com) 17 August 1993


Within a few years, patients at hospitals in the Oslo area may receive genuinely royal treatment, at the hands of the King's daughter. Princess Märtha Louise, 21 year-old daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja has decided to become a physiotherapist and to pursue this career alongside her official duties. Her studies will last three years. The princess competed with 5,200 other applicants for the 100 places at the physiotherapy school. She insisted on having her application treated like any other, and was given no preferential treatment during the selection process. Princess Märtha Louise has shown a strong commitment to public service and has served, among other things, as a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Märtha Louise maintained her royal duties while attending to her studies. On November 26, 1993 in Morgedal, Telemark county, Märtha Louise lit a torch which would be relayed by more than 6,000 athletes throughout Norway and finally to Lillehammer where it would be used at the opening ceremonies with the Olympic Flame.

After years of preparaton and much anticipation, the Lillehammer Olympic Games opened on February 12th 1994. Märtha Louise participated in the opening ceremonies along with her family and she was a spectator at several events. In June, she delivered a speech at the International Conference on Refugees in Oslo in the presence of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata of Japan. In August, she opened the three-day International Folklore Dance Festival. The audiences enjoyed traditional folklore dances from French, Swedish, Lithuanian and Norwegian dance groups. Martha Louise who has been dancing Norwegian Folklore dance for many years with the Norwegian Folk Museum was invited to perform in the opening ceremony.

In March 1996, Märtha Louise and Marianne Ulrichsen (Märtha’s cousin and best friend) obtained their truck driver's permits so that they could drive the 22-ton truck to transport their horses and personnel to future tournaments.

After graduating from Oslo College in June, Märtha moved to Maastricht in the Netherlands to complete a compulsory internship in a rehabilitation clinic and to refine her showjumping skills at the reknown Nooren Center. Then in October, Märtha, accompanied by her new trainer and her parents, participated in the Oslo Horse Show in Norway.

In 1997, she attended both her parents’ joint sixtieth-birthday celebrations and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s golden wedding anniversary celebration. She obtained her full physiotherapy certification in December.

Märtha Louise finally returned home to Norway in 1999 to resume her royal duties fulltime while still pursuing her equestrian dreams.

In August, on the first day of a three-day visit to Scotland, Märtha Louise attended the Norwegian folk costume exhibition, which is a part of the “Crown of Roses” Exposition, an exhibition of European tradional costumes held at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh. On the second day, she went sightseeing in the city. On the third day, Märtha Louise attended "Norway Sunday" at the International bookfair to promote children literacy programs.

Märtha Louise went on a week long goodwill tour in southeast Asia in December 1999. In Singapore, she visited a children's hospital and a Norwegian's Seaman's Church. She also paid a courtesy call on the president of Singapore and met with representatives of Norway's business community. In Bangkok, she donated a $125,000 grant on behalf of the Norwegian government to a day-care center for needy children and she opened a new Jotun factory. She also opened an SOS children's village in Viet Tri, Vietnam.

Märtha Louise attended the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games with her horse "Lenaro" who was competing in the games for New Zealand. While attending a morning press conference, Märtha Louise addressed the latest press coverage of Haakon's and Mette-Marit's romance. She defended her brother's choice of girlfriend then she added, "I hope you give her the time she needs to adapt to the role of a princess. It's not easy, and I know that from first hand experience."

In October, she joined Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland and Princess Benedikte of Denmark at the dedication ceremony of Scandinavia House on Park Avenue in New York. They were later joined by special guest of honour, Victor Borge for the dedication of Borge Hall in Scandinavia House.
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Märtha Louise has acted as hostess during Sonja’s absences as was the case during President Halonen of Finland’s state visit to Norway in October 2000. She accompanied the King to all the scheduled events and activites.

In 2001, in an effort to deflect the press' attention from Haakon and Mette-Marit so they could have some privacy before their wedding, Märtha Louise was sent on trip to Finnmark in March then to South America in April.

She became engaged to Ari Behn on December 13, 2001. They were married in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on May 24, 2004. They have two daughters, Maud Angelica born April 29, 2003 and Leah Isadora born April 8, 2005.

She has sung for two seasons with the Oslo Gospel Choir. She reads fairy tale and she can communicate through sign language with disabled people. She has written a children’s book entitiled, "Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns" in Norwegian. The book has now been translated into English and is being marketed in the United States.

Märtha Louise is patron of seventeen humanitarian and/or cultural organizations including UNICEF Norway and SOS Children's Foundation.

The Princess lives in Lommedalen, Norway with her family.
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Undated pictures from Knudsens Fotosenter.

1. Märtha's piano lesson under Sonja's supervision.
2. Haakon Magnus & Märtha advertising for a good cause.
3. Doesn't the colour of Märtha Louise's hat in picture look familiar? She is attending the games at Holmenkollen.
4. Royal occasion.
5. National Day.

6. Brother & sister camaraderie.
7. Always smiling.
8. The earrings!
9. National Day.
10. Märtha Louise on duty with King Harald.

Here is a thread Märtha Louise, her life in pictures with pictures and information regarding the life of the princess. I'm in the process of converting the attachments to a Photobucket account so please bear with me as some the pictures disappear and reappear.
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