Norway’s Royal Palace confirmed on Monday that Princess Ingrid Alexandra will start her secondary school education at the popular Elvebakken High School in Oslo this fall. It’s the largest public high school in the Norwegian capital, with 1,400 students and 150 teachers.
The 16-year-old heir to Norway’s throne reportedly chose Elvebakken herself. She started out at a public elementary school in suburban Asker, but in 2014, when she was 10 and heading into the fifth grade, her parents controversially transferred her to the expensive and private Oslo International School in suburban Bærum. Even though they had gone to public schools, they thought it was important for their daughter, the future monarch, to undergo an international curriculum with all instruction in English.
The move sparked criticism, with the leader of the national teachers’ organization Unio claiming that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were drawing an unfortunate line between public and private school. Top politicians for the Labour and Socialist Left parties also reacted negatively, even predicting that taking their children out of public school (the princess’ younger brother, Prince Sverre Magnus, was simultaneously transferred to a Montessori School in Oslo) would further erode public support for the monarchy.
Last year, though, the princess suddenly transferred to the large public Uranienborg School in Oslo’s fashionable Frogner/Briskeby district, close to the Royal Palace. That’s where she finished 10th grade this spring, at her own request, according to the palace.
Now she’s moving on to what’s officially known as Elvebakken VGS (videregående skole), located in Oslo’s trendy and former working-class neighbourhood of Grünerløkka in Oslo. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that its students have the highest admission requirements and grade point averages and that the princess had to go through the same application process as all other incoming students. Palace officials wrote in an email to NRK that the princess wanted to go to a high school in Oslo and that her first choice was Elvebakken.
“We’re very glad Princess Ingrid Alexandra will go to Elvebakken this fall, and as far as I know, it seems she wants to be a student on an equal footing with all the others who have been admitted,” Elvebakken’s principal, Camilla Hauren Leirvik, told NRK.
She added that many students at Elvebakken also have parents who are well-known, and who want to be judged on their own merits. “We’ll make that happen,” Leirvik said, “and we hope she (the princess) will find her place both academically and socially.” Princess Ingrid Alexandra, known as Ingrid, has opted for a college preparatory line of studies.
Leirvik said she knew little about security requirements for the princess. Those in charge of the royals’ security will visit the school in early August.