Constitutional and Dynastic Matters in the Norwegian Monarchy


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Tatiana Maria

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The Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway

https://lovdata.no/dokument/NL/lov/1814-05-17

English translation of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway

https://lovdata.no/dokument/NLE/lov/1814-05-17



The following articles of the Constitution include mentions of the royal family (I am not including articles which refer only to the King in this list).


Article 6.

The order of succession is lineal, so that only a child born in lawful wedlock of the Queen or King, or of one who is herself or himself entitled to the succession, may succeed, and so that the nearest line shall take precedence over the more remote and the elder in the line over the younger.

An unborn child shall also be included among those entitled to the succession and shall immediately take her or his proper place in the line of succession as soon as she or he is born into the world.

The right of succession shall not, however, belong to any person who is not born in the direct line of descent from the last reigning Queen or King or a sister or brother thereof, or is not herself or himself a sister or brother thereof.

When a Princess or Prince entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway is born, her or his name and time of birth shall be notified to the first Storting in session and be entered in the record of its proceedings.

For those born before the year 1971, Article 6 of the Constitution as it was passed on 18 November 1905 shall, however, apply. For those born before the year 1990 it shall nevertheless be the case that a male shall take precedence over a female.

Article 7.

If there is no Princess or Prince entitled to the succession, the King may propose his successor to the Storting, which has the right to make the choice if the King's proposal is not accepted.

Article 21.

The King shall choose and appoint, after consultation with his Council of State, all senior civil and military officials. These officials shall have a duty of obedience and allegiance to the Constitution and the King. The Royal Princes and Princesses must not hold senior civil offices.

Article 34.

The King shall make provisions concerning titles for those who are entitled to succeed to the Crown.

Article 35.

As soon as the heir to the throne has completed her or his eighteenth year, she or he is entitled to take a seat in the Council of State, although without a vote or responsibility.

Article 36.

A Prince or Princess entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway may not marry without the consent of the King. Nor may he or she accept any other crown or government without the consent of the King and the Storting. For the consent of the Storting two thirds of the votes are required.

If he or she acts contrary to this rule, they and their descendants forfeit their right to the throne of Norway.

Article 37.

The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them.

Article 41.

If the King is absent from the realm unless commanding in the field, or if he is so ill that he cannot attend to the Government, the person next entitled to succeed to the throne shall, provided that he has attained the age stipulated for the King's majority, conduct the Government as the temporary executor of the Royal Powers. If this is not the case, the Council of State will conduct the administration of the realm.

Article 44.

The Princess or Prince who, in the cases mentioned in Article 41, conducts the Government shall make the following oath in writing before the Storting: «I promise and swear that I will conduct the Government in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws, so help me God, the Almighty and Omniscient.»

If the Storting is not in session at the time, the oath shall be made in the Council of State and later be presented to the next Storting.

The Princess or Prince who has once made the oath shall not repeat it later.

Article 75.

It devolves upon the Storting:

[...]
e. to decide how much shall be paid annually to the King for the Royal Household, and to determine the Royal Family's appanage, which may not, however, consist of real property;
[...]​
 
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On a side note, I wonder if Article 37 would be interpreted to cover the untitled people who are in line to the throne, the way Article 6's rule that names of newborn Princes and Princesses should be notified to the Storting was (if I remember correctly) interpreted to apply to the Behns?

Article 37 is very clear: ''The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them.''

And I would never in my wildest imagination think that the Royal Family and the government would be so unwise as to try to use article 37 to protect untitled family members like the Behn girls from any legal trouble. I mean, that would provoke an extreme wave of criticism from politicians, media and people alike!
And pretty sure it wouldn't be used to protect titled family members either! I mean, this isn't 1994!

And when it comes to the Behn girls and article 6, well, the King didn't have to notify the Storting when they were born since he didn't give them any princess-titles. However, since they were born with succession rights, he chose to do so.


I respectfully disagree; I think it is at least arguable that the Constitution's mentions of princesses and princes, such as articles 6 and 37, are inclusive of untitled persons in line to the throne.

Historian Dag Trygsland Hoelseth, who as you probably know is – like you – a Norwegian who is highly knowledgeable about the monarchy, thought so, since he wrote about article 6:

The Constitution art. 6 paragraph 4 says that «When a Princess or Prince entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway is born, her or his name and time of birth shall be notified to the first Storting in session and be entered in the record of its proceedings.» Although Maud Angelica Behn is not titled, the paragraph has been interpreted as saying that also the birth of others with succession rights should be notified to the Storting.

Maud Angelica Behn was at the time of birth no. 3 in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091021145010/http://www.geocities.com/dagtho/stmin20030430.html


I personally believe that is the way in which those articles should be interpreted.

The references to "Princes" formed part of the original text of the Constitution in 1814, and at the time, article 34 specified that persons in line to the throne would be titled Prince. I will quote your translation of article 34 as it stood between 1814 and 1990:

''The nearest heir to the throne, if he is the son of the reigning King, shall bear the title of Crown Prince. The other persons entitled to succeed to the throne shall be called Princes, and the Royal daughters, Princesses.''​

Therefore, the lawmakers' original intent was that articles such as article 37 would apply to everyone in line to the throne, not only the most senior royals.

Additionally, adopting a literal interpretation of "Princes and Princesses" and applying these clauses only to royals who carry the titles of Princess or Prince would have some odd or undesirable consequences post-1990.

Take article 7, for example:

"If there is no Princess or Prince entitled to the succession, the King may propose his successor to the Storting, which has the right to make the choice if the King's proposal is not accepted."​

If we are to interpret "Princess or Prince" in article 7 literally, then the Behn sisters do not truly have rights to the throne, for if Haakon, his children, and Märtha Louise were to die, there would be "no Princess or Prince entitled to the succession", and King Harald V or the Storting would be allowed to appoint a different successor according to article 7.

Or consider article 36 (though I know you believe the King would never deny consent):

"A Prince or Princess entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway may not marry without the consent of the King. Nor may he or she accept any other crown or government without the consent of the King and the Storting. For the consent of the Storting two thirds of the votes are required.

If he or she acts contrary to this rule, they and their descendants forfeit their right to the throne of Norway."​

The consequence of a literal interpretation of "Prince or Princess" would be that Princess/Crown Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who trained all her life for the throne, would lose her right to it by marrying someone without the King's official consent. But if she and Prince Sverre Magnus both lost their right to the throne due to unapproved spouses, Maud Angelica Behn, who never expected to become Queen, would become Queen of Norway even if she had an even more inappropriate spouse at her side, because according to this interpretation she would not have needed the King's consent to marry.
 
Since the mechanics of the King's constitutional consent to royal marriages are a frequent topic of discussion here in the Norway forum, I will also copy over a post by Royal Norway in the General Royal Discussion forum with important information about the King and Government's interpretation of article 36 of the Constitution:

Haakon has said in interviews that when he told his parents about MM's past, the King said, "Is it more?" To which Haakon replied "no" - and the King said that "Dette klarer vi!" (''We'll manage this!'')

And then to the constitutional stuff:

According to the then Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, the King called him to the palace before the engagement - and informed him that Haakon wanted to marry MM.
He told the PM that he knew about Article 36 in the Constitution, which states:

A Prince or Princess entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway may not marry without the consent of the King. Nor may he or she accept any other crown or government without the consent of the King and the Storting. For the consent of the Storting two thirds of the votes are required.

If he or she acts contrary to this rule, they and their descendants forfeit their right to the throne of Norway.

He explained that he understood that when the word "King" is written in the Constitution, it had to be interpreted as "the King in Council of State'' (which, today, means the government).

But after that, the King said the following: ''Men akkurat når det gjelder denne paragrafen om at kongen må godkjenne kronprinsens ekteskap, vil jeg mene at kongen faktisk er kongen, det vil si meg – og ikke deg''.
("But just when it comes to this Article about that the King must approve the Crown Prince's marriage, I would think that the King is actually the King, that means me - and not you.")

And then it was done, neither Stoltenberg nor any other prime minister could do anything about it.
 
One of the discussion has been whether Märtha Louise's children would loose their place in line to the throne if ML's second marriage would not be approved. Based on Article 6, I would argue that the three girls meet the criteria and a subsequent unapproved marriage of their mother would not negate their status as being born in lawful wedlock of one who is herself or himself entitled to the succession.

Article 6.

The order of succession is lineal, so that only a child born in lawful wedlock of the Queen or King, or of one who is herself or himself entitled to the succession, may succeed, and so that the nearest line shall take precedence over the more remote and the elder in the line over the younger.
 
One of the discussion has been whether Märtha Louise's children would loose their place in line to the throne if ML's second marriage would not be approved. Based on Article 6, I would argue that the three girls meet the criteria and a subsequent unapproved marriage of their mother would not negate their status as being born in lawful wedlock of one who is herself or himself entitled to the succession.

Interesting observation, but I'm not sure if that legal argument would succeed, because Princess Märtha Louise herself was born in wedlock of someone entitled to the succession to the crown, but she undeniably could be deprived of her succession rights by article 36.

By the way, the succession rules have a thread of their own: Succession rules :flowers:
 
Interesting observation, but I'm not sure if that legal argument would succeed, because Princess Märtha Louise herself was born in wedlock of someone entitled to the succession to the crown, but she undeniably could be deprived of her succession rights by article 36.

By the way, the succession rules have a thread of their own: Succession rules :flowers:

By her own actions.

Big difference to the girls losing their rights because of the actions of their mother. The law requires them to have been born to a parent who was in the line of succession at the time of their birth. Not that their mother has to continue to be in line of succession. They met that criteria.
 
:previous: See here for my reply. :flowers:

https://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f16/succession-rules-36181-3.html#post2596346


Concerning the discussion of the references to princes and princesses, here is a related post by Somebody:

It is interesting, however, that the constitution assumes that those that might ascend the throne would be princes and princesses:

Article 7.
If there is no Princess or Prince entitled to the succession, the King may propose his successor to the Storting, which has the right to make the choice if the King's proposal is not accepted.

So, if for whatever reason the first 4 currently in line to the throne, would suddenly no longer be in the line of succession, there is a non-princesses who would ascend the throne but according to Article 7 the Starting might choose a different successor than the one proposed by the king (which assumes that his three granddaughters by his daughter could be skipped as they are not princesses). I am quite sure that isn't the intention but the wording and current practice are at odds with each other (just like in Sweden).

Of course, I assume that as soon as such a situation would arise, the king would use his prerogative to create at least the heir a prince or princess if he/she isn't one already - using article 34:

Article 34.
The King shall make provisions concerning titles for those who are entitled to succeed to the Crown.


Article 36 also only applies to princes and princesses entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway, so from that perspective Maud, Leah and Emma are free to marry whoever they like without any consequences for the place in the line of succession.

Article 36.
A Prince or Princess entitled to succeed to the Crown of Norway may not marry without the consent of the King. Nor may he or she accept any other crown or government without the consent of the King and the Storting. For the consent of the Storting two thirds of the votes are required.

If he or she acts contrary to this rule, they and their descendants forfeit their right to the throne of Norway.


And suddenly in artikel 37 the term 'royal princes and princesses' is introduced. Would Märtha Louise and Sverre Magnus not qualify as they are no (longer) royal highnesses?

Article 37.
The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them.


The combination of articles 41 and 44 indicates the assumption that the (direct) heir to the throne is a prince or princess. Article 41 references 'the person next entitled to succeed' (so a general phrasing) while Article 44 refers to this same person as The prince or princess, who in the cases mentioned in article 41...

Article 41.
If the King is absent from the realm unless commanding in the field, or if he is so ill that he cannot attend to the Government, the person next entitled to succeed to the throne shall, provided that he has attained the age stipulated for the King's majority, conduct the Government as the temporary executor of the Royal Powers. If this is not the case, the Council of State will conduct the administration of the realm.

(...)

Article 44.
The Princess or Prince who, in the cases mentioned in Article 41, conducts the Government shall make the following oath in writing before the Storting: «I promise and swear that I will conduct the Government in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws, so help me God, the Almighty and Omniscient.»

If the Storting is not in session at the time, the oath shall be made in the Council of State and later be presented to the next Storting.

The Princess or Prince who has once made the oath shall not repeat it later.
 
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