Norway’s Princess Ingrid Alexandra, second in line to the throne after her father Crown Prince Haakon, turned 13 over the weekend. If nothing unexpected occurs, she’ll eventually become Norway first reigning queen in more than 600 years.
Newspaper Aftenposten pointed out on Saturday, Ingrid Alexandra’s birthday, that the last time a queen was monarch in Norway was from 1388 to 1412. That’s when Margrete I, daughter of the founder of the Kalmar Union, reigned over Norway, Sweden and Denmark in the years before Norway fell under Danish rule.
Flags flew on public buildings on Saturday and the royal yacht was decked out in festive nautical regalia, but Ingrid Alexandra’s 13th birthday on January 21st was otherwise celebrated “privately” with family and friends, according to a Royal Palace spokesperson. Her older non-royal half-brother Marius Borg Høiby, son of Crown Princess Mette-Marit when she was a single mother before meeting Haakon, was reportedly the only family member not present at Ingrid Alexandra’s birthday party: He moved to California on his own 20th birthday earlier this month, in what his mother controversially claimed was at least partly motivated by a desire to avoid the media and public spotlight when it wasn’t on his own terms.
Ingrid Alexandra is very much a public person but coverage of her has been restrained so far. It’s in part a combination of an apparent decline in interest in the royals by established, edited media and efforts by the Royal Palace and the young heir to the throne’s parents to control access. Mette-Marit, who was a commoner from Kristiansand before marrying into Norway’s royal family, has been particularly critical of the media but not always concrete in her complaints. “We’re always willing to listen to criticism, but the crown princess’ reprimand of us was very general and difficult to learn anything from,” Reidun Kjelling Nybø of Norway’s professional editors’ organization (Norsk Redaktørforening) told Aftenposten.
Palace officials, meanwhile, reported that Princess Ingrid Alexandra likes to draw, read books, listen to music, play piano and play with the family’s dog, Milly Kakao. She also reportedly likes to ski in the winter, thus taking part in a sport that’s nearly obligatory for a Norwegian royal.
It was controversial when her parents pulled her out of Norway’s public schools and sent her to the private and expensive Oslo International School in suburban Bærum instead. That sent a signal that was not welcomed in egalitarian Norway but had to be accepted. Ironically, her international school was among the few schools in Norway that did not raise the flag on the princess’ birthday: “As an international school, we keep a neutral position regarding flagging,” its rector Janecke Aarnæs told Aftenposten. “We fly the school flag every day as a symbol of our multicultural and multilingual educational milieu.” The only day that the Norwegian flag is flown is in connection with Norway’s national day on the 17th of May, but not on the holiday itself, because then the school is closed.