Royal cousins gain some glory

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Norway’s Princess Ingrid Alexandra has followed a royal tradition of taking part in competitive sports. That left her with a junior national championship over the weekend, while her cousin Maud Angelica Behn emerged as Norway’s “bravest woman of the year.”

Maud Angelica Behn, speaking at her father’s funeral in January. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Behn has no royal title herself, but she’s the daughter of Princess Martha Louise, Ingrid Alexandra’s aunt and thus part of the royal family. She’s only 17 but she won a local magazine’s annually awarded title of “bravest woman” for a strong and stirring speech she held at her father Ari Behn’s funeral in January. He was an author and artist who went through a divorce from Martha Louise, suffered from depression and committed suicide on Christmas Day.

Maud Angelica Behn (far left) in a happier pose with other members of the royal family on holiday in Lofoten last summer. Behn’s cousin Ingrid Alexandra is second from left, followed by her sister Emma, the crown couple, her other sister Leah Isadora and her mother, Martha Louise. PHOTO: Det kongelige hoff

His death stunned not only the royal family but Norwegians in general, and his funeral in the Oslo Cathedral was widely followed. His daughter Maud Angelica impressed many, not least her grandfather King Harald, when she not only paid tribute to her father but also called for more openness and understanding around suicide in Norway. She also urged anyone contemplating suicide to seek help.

“I thought that helping others would help me when I was in so much pain,” she told Tara magazine, which sponsors the annual prize. “When you go through something painful, you can let it destroy you or use it as a value. If I can use my experience to maybe save lives, I’ll be very grateful.”

Her cousin Princess Ingrid Alexandra, meanwhile, also won honours over the weekend, in the sport of surfing. The 16-year-old heir to the throne braved the chilly waters off Borenstranden in Jæren (south of Stavanger) to surf her way to gold in the junior class of the Norwegian Championships.

Surfing champ Princess Ingrid Alexandra, on the beach at Jæren with her parents, Crown Prince Regent Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. PHOTO: Det kongelige hoff

It was the first time a royal trophy was awarded for surfing, and Crown Prince Regent Haakon ended up handing one to Helle Løvseth in the women’s division and Luca Nino Petersen-Guichard in the men’s. Also to his daughter in the junior division.

The crown prince’s entire family are avid surfers. King Harald, meanwhile, has won both World- and European Championships in sailing, and his father, the late King Olav, won Olympic and World Championship gold in the same sport. Queen Sonja has also won a Norwegian Championship in sailing, while Princess Martha Louise has won a Norwegian Championship in horseback riding and jumping.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund