In the September issue of Viking magazine, you’ll find a story that combines Norway’s war history and the royal family. “The King’s Defiance” recounts King Haakon VII’s wild escape from Oslo and refusal to surrender to Nazi forces. It was pivotal moment in Norway’s entry into World War II. The King, Crown Prince Olav, Crown Princess Märtha and their children, Ragnhild, Astrid and Harald all escaped Norway. Need a refresher on these important members of the royal family? Here’s your cheat sheet!
Haakon VII (1872–1957)
Born Prince Carl of Denmark near Copenhagen in 1872, he’s the second son of Prince and Princess of Denmark (King Frederick VIII and Queen Louise). After training to be a naval officer, he served in the Royal Danish Navy. In 1896, he married Princess Maud. In 1905, the Norwegian Storting passed a resolution to dissolve the union with Sweden. King Oscar II renounced his claim to the Norwegian throne. Prince Carl became Norway’s King in November that year and took the name Haakon. He and Maud were crowned in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on June 22, 1906. King Haakon immersed himself in Norwegian politics and culture. Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen introduced the King and Queen to Norway’s national sport: skiing. He also started the beloved tradition of the annual children’s parade on Syttende Mai which passes in front of the Palace. During his reign, the King adopted the motto Alt for Norge meaning “We give our all for Norway.”
Queen Maud (1869–1938)
Born in London, Maud was the daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales. She married Prince Carl of Denmark in Buckingham Palace in July 1896. Their son, Prince Alexander (later Prince Olav), was born in July 1903. After Norway’s dissolution with Sweden, she became Norway’s first queen. Known for her exceptional wardrobe, she was involved in a range of social and cultural activities and charities. The Queen enjoyed outdoor activities, such as riding horses, walking her dogs and skiing. She also enjoyed dancing and was an amateur photographer. The Queen maintained close ties to England throughout her lifetime, with an extended stay there each year. Those ties were important to Norway during WWII.
Prince Olav V (1903–1991)
The only child of Haakon VII and Maud, Olav was born in July 1903 in England as Prince Alexander. When his parents ascended to the throne, he was given the name Olav. In 1929 Prince Olav married Princess Märtha of Sweden. They had three children: Princess Ragnhild, Princess Astrid and Prince Harald V. Olav V ascended to the throne in September 1957 when his father passed away. He was consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral in June 1958.
Princess Märtha (1901–1954)
Princess Märtha was born in Stockholmin 1901. She became engaged to Crown Prince Olav during the 1928 Olympic Summer Games in Amsterdam. They married in March 1929. She undertook a range of official engagements, and she also gave many speeches, which was unusual for females in the royal family at the time. She and Prince Olav had three children: Ragnhild, Astrid and Harald. Princess Märtha assumed the role of First Lady after Queen Maud’s death in 1938.
Princess Ragnhild (1930–2012)
The oldest child of King Olav V and Princess Märtha, Princess Raghnild was born at the Royal Palace in June 1930. She spent much of her childhood near Oslo at Skaugum Estate until 1940 when German troops invaded Norway. She, along with her mother, sister and brother escaped to Sweden and later traveled to the United States until peace was declared in 1945. She married Erling Sven Lorentzen in May 1953. They settled in Brazil and had three children.
Princess Astrid (1932– )
The second child of King Olav V and Princess Märtha was born in February 1932. When she returned to Norway following WWII and five years in exile, Princess Astrid enrolled in Nissen girls’ school. When her mother passed away, Princess Astrid assumed the role of First Lady until her brother married Sonja Haraldsen. In 1961, Princess Astrid married Johan Martin Ferner. They had five children.
King Harald V (1937– )
Prince Harald V was the first prince born in Norway in 567 years. After the liberation, he attended Smestad school in Oslo. Upon completion of military training, he attended Oxford and Balliol College. In 1968, Prince Harald V married Sonja Haraldson, a commoner, in Oslo Cathedral. They have two children, Princess Märtha Louise and Prince Haakon. When King Olav passed away in 1991, Harald and Sonja were consecrated in Nidaros Cathedral as King and Queen.