Crown Princess Mette-Marit opened up about her struggle with her father’s alcoholism on the last day of her literary train tour on Wednesday. Mette-Marit told the audience in Snåsa, Nord-Trøndelag that her relationship with her father, who infamously shared details of her private life, was one of the hardest things she’d ever dealt with.
One of the topics of Wednesday’s literary train stop at Snåsa was “literature as a taboo breaker,” reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). An unusually frank Mette-Marit told the audience she felt “as if something had broken” inside her the first time she read Karl Ove Knausgård’s writings on his relationship with his own father.
“It was winter and we were at the cabin, and when I went skiing on the plateau it was like the wind blew right through me,” she explained. “It felt as if the author understood who I was and what I needed to move on with my life.”
“When my father died there was much left unsaid,” Mette-Marit continued. “There was a lot I didn’t understand and a lot that I blamed myself for. Knausgård wrote about his father. I saw that he wrote about mine.”
The Crown Princess said no one knew that her father was an alcoholic, and it was a shame that she felt she needed to hide. She said her relationship with her father up until his death from lung cancer in 2007 was among the greatest challenges of her life.
After Mette-Marit married Crown Prince Haakon in 2001, her father Sven O Høiby became something of a celebrity for making outspoken comments and sharing private photographs with gossip magazines, especially Se og Hør. Newspaper VG reported Se og Hør paid Høiby up to NOK 400,000 (USD 66,900) in the space of a year for the details he provided. A former journalist with the tabloid told VG Høiby had money problems, and there was nothing he’d refuse.
The crown princess was being praised for her frankness by representatives of children of alcoholics, who said it was great comfort and source of support that they weren’t alone in dealing with alcoholic parents.