Royal heir turns eight as mom ‘tweets’

Flags were flying on Norway’s public buildings on Saturday, as Princess Ingrid Alexandra celebrated her eighth birthday on January 21. Meanwhile, her mother, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, could “tweet” about it for the first time.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra posed for new official photos on the occasion of her eighth birthday over the weekend. She's in line to be Norway's reigning monarch one day, as queen. PHOTO: Julia Marie Naglestad / Det kongelige hoff

Ingrid Alexandra is the next heir to the throne after her father, Crown Prince Haakon, who will succeed his father, King Harald. Even though both Haakon and Mette-Marit make efforts to shield their children from the public spotlight and give them as “normal” a childhood as possible, Princess Ingrid Alexandra has already performed some public duties and learned to pose for photographers.

Palace officials said her birthday celebration would be private, with her family. The palace did release some new “official” photos of Ingrid Alexandra, though, on the occasion of her eighth birthday.

Meanwhile, her mother caught more media attention in Norway for setting up her own account on the social media site Twitter and sending out a message that referred to her daughter’s birthday. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who’s been on Twitter for quite a while, had welcomed Mette-Marit as a follower of his comments, or “tweets,” to which the crown princess responded: “Thanks a lot! Have a good weekend! Here we’re having a birthday party for the world’s prettiest princess!”

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Mette-Marit activated her account on Wednesday, when she sent her first message to 17-year-old Parker Liautaud, a self-professed polar adventurer and environmental activist. When that got picked up by the news media, Mette-Marit suddenly wound up with around 4,500 followers. By 6pm on Friday, she had 7,000 followers.

She and her husband had a shared account, @kronprinsparet, but he confirmed her own by writing “Now the wife has her own twitter. Follow her here: @CrownPrincessMM.”

Cecilie Staude, an analyst of social media at the local business school BI in Oslo, where Mette-Marit has studied, thinks the crown couple’s expanding use of social media has been well-planned. “It seems like she has a plan for how she wants to present herself, and how she will use Twitter as a channel,” Staude told Aftenposten. “I think it’s positive … it shows that the crown princess sees potential for this type of platform.”

Across the border in Sweden, the country itself has set up a Twitter account that all citizens can use. The BBC called the move “the world’s most democratic experiment.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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