The crown couple’s first decade

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Their honeymoon was shockingly disrupted by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, leaving them stranded in New York. Their 10th wedding anniversary is being marked under the shadow of last month’s terrorist attacks in Norway. The couple set to be Norway’s next king and queen have opted for a low-key celebration on Thursday of their first decade as crown couple.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit want people to see each other and take care of each other. PHOTO: Kongehuset.no

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, both age 38, have had their share of challenges. First was the struggle to get Norwegians to accept Haakon’s choice of a bride back in 2001. The single mother and former house party girl who felt compelled to publicly express regret for her past won her prince after all, and has worked hard to earn acceptance for her place in the royal family.

The couple since has had two more children, including Norway’s next heir to the throne, and many royal watchers now think Mette-Marit has matured into her role. Haakon was born into his, and remains an articulate, highly educated royal heir who’s displayed a passion for political correctness and worthy social causes.

They decided to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary on August 25 with a special church service back at the Oslo Cathedral where they married. The service was to be followed by an outdoor concert at Universitetsplassen downtown, featuring hip-hop artists releasing a new CD called Gatekunst 4. “We’re glad the crown couple see the value of our youth project, and look forward to fill the plaza with both young people and the royals,” said Camilio Heredia, leader of GatekunstAkademiet (The Street Art Academy).

The crown couple celebrates their 10th wedding anniversary on August 25. PHOTO: Kongehuset.no

The day would end with dinner at the Royal Palace, hosted by Haakon’s parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja, after a so-called relaunch of the couple’s humanitarian fund. Both have made a point of being involved in humanitarian causes, from Mette-Marit’s work to stem HIV/AIDS and Haakon’s work against poverty and for acceptance of a multi-cultural society.

“We want to be part of creating a generous and inclusive society where we see each other and take care of each other,” Crown Prince Haakon told newspaper Aftenposten in a recent interview. “When everyone is involved and contributes, we get a better society, a more efficient society and a stronger society where folks thrive and are proud.”

Asked what they’d have wanted to do if they weren’t royals, Mette-Marit said she’d wanted to be an author but more likely would have worked in a book store. Haakon said he probably would have worked for an anti-poverty organization or as a diplomat, but he most of all would have like to work within the music industry, “for example as a producer.”

Meanwhile they’ll continue to be crown prince and crown princess and seem to still enjoy each other’s company. They admit there was a great deal of turbulence around their early romance and marriage.

“I met a girl who impressed me, and I saw her many qualities,” Haakon told Aftenposten. “It wasn’t so easy for everyone else to see them so early. They have become clearer in recent years.”

He claimed that people’s opinions of Mette-Marit have changed more than she has, even though she’s become “better at giving speeches” and formulating herself. His wife agreed. “I haven’t changed so much,” she said. “Many undoubtedly experienced my entry into the family as difficult.” But she thinks some of “the opposition we met” was also cultivated by the media, and said they both got a “fantastic reception” on their first tour into the districts of Norway.

“We couldn’t have gotten to where we are if we hadn’t been working with what we believe in,” she said. “Because that’s just what we do. We work with what we believe in.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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