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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Traditional’ but ‘broke barriers’

Norway’s late Princess Ragnhild was remembered during her funeral just before the weekend both for being “true to tradition” while also breaking royal barriers of her time. Her 58-year-old son, Haakon Lortenzen, called her “a quite ordinary person.”

Princess Ragnhild fru Lorentzen was laid to rest on Friday in the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo. PHOTO: Sven Gjeruldsen/Det kongelige hoff

Princess Ragnhild, who married businessman and war hero Erling Lortentzen and moved to Brazil right after their wedding in 1953, died at home in Rio de Janeiro on September 16 at the age of 82. She wanted to be buried near her childhood home in Norway, though, and her funeral was held on Friday in the chapel at the Royal Palace in Oslo.

It was attended mostly by family and close friends, but also by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who represented the Swedish royal family in paying their last respects. Princess Ragnhild’s mother, who also was the mother of Norway’s reigning King Harald and Princess Astrid, was the Swedish princess Märtha, so the ties between the two families are close.

The funeral was also attended by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the president of Norway’s parliament Dag Terje Andersen, Defense Chief Harald Sunde, Chief Justice Toril Marie Øie and Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang. The funeral otherwise was relatively small, with just 120 guests present, and modest, in line with what those close to her said was the princess’ style.

“As a mother, Princess Ragnhild was a quite ordinary person,” her son Haakon said in his eulogy at the funeral. “She took us to school and to the dentist, she took us to the circus.” He said she was also “unique,” though.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Haakon Lorentzen was personal and humorous in his remarks. “She broke barriers with her marriage (to a commoner), at the same time she was very traditional,” he said. “One of the ways we felt that was when grandfather (the late King Olav) died, and when we celebrated Christmas Eve in Rio de Janeiro. It had to be in tuxedos and with candles lit, in 40C (105F) heat.”

Princess Ragnhild’s casket was draped with the Norwegian flag, which was ceremoniously folded afterwards and presented to her widower. Also in attendance were the couple’s three children and their aunt and uncle, Queen Sonja and King Harald, along with their cousins Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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