Anniversary looms for royals

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Next month will mark 10 years since Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon married commoner and single mother Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby at the Oslo Cathedral. The couple plans to celebrate their 10th anniversary with another service at the cathedral on August 25.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary next month. PHOTO: Det Kongelige Hoff

That was the day of the royal wedding that caused great controversy in Norway, because of now-Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s unconventional past. She since seems to have grown into her role as Norway’s next queen, and now enjoys relatively widespread popularity in a social welfare state that perhaps ironically clings on to its monarchy.

The Royal Palace announced this week that the crown prince and crown princess will attend a special gudstjeneste (church service) back at the cathedral where they tied the knot at 3pm on August 25. The service will be conducted by Oslo Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme, while the former bishop who married them, Gunnar Stålsett, will speak as well.

From there, the couple will move on to the plaza outside the original buildings of the University of Oslo downtown (Universitetsplassen) for a special event tied to the couple’s humanitarian fund (Kronprinsparets Humanitære Fond). King Harald and Queen Sonja will hold what’s being called a “private dinner” for Haakon and Mette-Marit at the Royal Palace that evening.

The couple will just have returned to Oslo after making official visits to two counties in Norway, Møre og Romsdal from August 19-22 and Hedmark from August 22-23. That means the Crown Princess will be celebrating her 38th birthday on the 19th while “on the road” performing official royal duties.

Birthday celebrations, too
Meanwhile, flags were flying and canons were fired from the Akershus Fortress and Castle in Oslo on Wednesday in honor of Crown Prince Haakon’s own 38th birthday on July 20. The 21-gun salute is a tradition carried out at high noon on royal birthdays.

Haakon’s older sister, Princess Martha Louise, will be celebrating her 40th birthday later this autumn. She’s stayed out of the news recently following more controversy last winter over her business activities in which she offers to help people get in touch with their angels through a form of spiritual counseling. The business has sparked criticism from officials of the state church, not least when she said she also could help people contact the dead.

News stories appeared this week, though, when it emerged that she will be celebrating her 40th birthday on September 22 with another party at the Royal Palace. Her parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja, will be the official hosts. Martha Louise also had a lavish party, at Haakon’s Hall in Bergen, when she turned 30 while her brother kept a low profile on his own 30th.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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