Norwegians were treated to a rare, rather shocking and highly entertaining TV show on Monday, after a weekend warm-up in the tabloids. The husband of the Princess Martha Louise took center stage himself, raging against a former official at the Royal Palace who since has been a commentator and critic of Norway’s Royal Family.
“I’ve just been filled with such a violent fury,” said royal husband Ari Behn, an author who recently announced he’s writing a new book that savages a character not-so-loosely based on the former Palace soussjef, Carl-Erik Grimstad. Some observers think Behn has shrewdly grabbed plenty of free publicity for the book.
Not so, claims Behn, who charges that Grimstad has repeatedly hurt “myself and my family” and that he’d kept quiet about it long enough since becoming romantically involved involved with the princess eight years ago. Now, he said on national television, it was “very liberating” to vent his rage against Grimstad “in all channels.”
A supplier of quotes
Grimstad has often been quoted in the media, commenting on everything from the princess’ claims that she can talk to angels, to her controversial commercial book projects, to the special permission she’s won to circumvent local building codes both at her holiday home and the property she and Behn bought in a forested area outside Oslo after they married.
Behn, who’s often been a target of public ridicule himself, didn’t mince words once he got the media’s attention. He accused Grimstad of spreading gossip “about me and my family” and that he finally got sick and tired of it. Behn claimed that Grimstad must have a “personal vendetta” against the Royal Family and claimed Grimstad was forced to leave his post at the Palace in the early 1990s when his contract wasn’t renewed.
“This is personal between him and me,” Behn said, claiming that he was acting on his own. He refused to say whether he had the approval of King Harald and Queen Sonja or other members of the Royal Family to go public with is disdain for Grimstad, although it’s unlikely he would have dared launch his crusade without it.
“I can’t help but think that other members of the Royal Family are watching this with a blend of horror and delight,” said an editor at newspaper VG who was among the guests on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s nightly debate program along with Behn. Other guests, including anti-royalist Professor Trond Nordby, launched their own attack on Behn.
Nordby and a public relations consultant called Behn’s criticism of his critic “unworthy.” Grimstad himself refused to participate in the program, and Nordby said Behn’s attack was unwarranted.
Behn didn’t seem to have any regrets, calling his verbal assault on Grimstad “pure therapy.”
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund