Robert D Stuart, who served as US ambassador to Norway during the Reagan Administration, died of a heart attack while traveling home from France last week. He was 98 and married to a former top aide to Queen Sonja, Ingegjerd “Lillan” Løvenskiold Stuart.
Stuart was a politically active Republican and heir to the Quaker Oats Company, where he held the top spot of chief executive from 1966 to 1981. He was also known for being a founding member of the controversial America First group that opposed US intervention against Nazi Germany right up until the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, which plunged the US into World War II. Stuart then enlisted in the US Army, though, and fought in Europe.
He spent five years in Oslo as US ambassador, from 1984-1989, and later established the Robert D Stuart Jr Fellowships, offering “promising Norwegians” of “good character” who are under age 35 and “already active politically” funding to spend a semester studying and working in the US. Stuart is also remembered for having to explain the late President Reagan’s controversial “Star Wars” defense program to skeptical Norwegians during his tenure as US envoy.
Stuart is survived by his Norwegian wife Ingegjerd “Lillan” Løvenskiold Stuart, age 82, who also was politically active for the Conservative party (Høyre) in Norway and held a high position as overhoffmesterinne at the Royal Palace in Oslo before moving to the US after marrying Stuart. Like Stuart she was widowed following the death, in 1994, of her first husband, major Norwegian landowner Harald Løvenskiold . She is the mother of Carl Otto Løvenskiold, who now owns most of Nordmarka, the sprawling hills and forests just north of Oslo. Løvenskiold Stuart is also credited with launching the restoration of the historic buildings on Løvenskiold-owned land at Bærums Verk.
Funeral services for Robert D Stuart were scheduled for the 17th of May, Norway’s Constitution Day, at the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, Illinois, an affluent suburb just north of Chicago.