Norway’s royal family headed for the hills above Oslo this year, for traditional Christmas holidays at the monarch’s timber lodge called Kongsseteren. They posed for a family portrait before leaving, minus Princess Martha Louise and her family.
Like many families, the royals have alternated both locations and which sides of the family they gather with at Christmas from year to year. King Harald and Queen Sonja have spent the holidays with both Crown Prince Haakon and his two children and with Princess Martha Louise and her three daughters. Things got a bit more complicated when Martha Louise and her husband, author Ari Behn, separated in 2016 after 14 years of marriage.
They’ve stayed friends, though, and TV2 reported that Martha Louise, her ex-husband and their children spent Christmas Eve with Behn’s parents in Larkollen, south of Oslo. “They have, for the sake of their daughters, actually celebrated Christmas Eve together every year since they broke up,” Kjell Arne Totland, a journalist who has followed the royals for years, told TV2. The king and queen have also continued to invite Behn when Martha Louise spends Christmas with them.
This year, however, the Royal Palace reported that the king, queen and the crown prince’s family would spend Christmas Eve at the royal lodge not far from Holmenkollen in Oslo. The crown prince’s family has also invited to their residence at Skaugum, west of Oslo, and spent Christmas at their winter holiday home in the mountains at Uvdal. Crown Princess Mette-Marit also needs to alternate Christmas celebrations with the royal family and her own mother and other family members from Kristiansand.
After Christmas Eve at Kongssseteren, the royals also attended church services on Christmas Day at the nearby Holmenkollen Chapel, before they were all expected to take off on holidays until after New Year.