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Kongefamilien Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Culture

Having taken a look at some Norwegian words for familiemedlemmer (family members), the Norwegian ”First Family” stands in line. I suppose you’ve already seen the no. 1 of kongefamilien (the Royal Family) – kongen selv (the King himself). On every Norwegian 10 or 20 Kroner coin, the profile of kong Harald is looking towards the edge. (No, he isn’t completely bald, if you look closer, you’ll see that he’s only got a måne (bald spot, literally ’moon’). On a wholly different note, you should notice how the word konge, ’king’, looses its final ’-e’ when used as a title in front of a name.)

Harald is known as a peaceful monarch, who thoughtfully delivers his annual, televised nyttårstale (New Year Speech), and takes his time to answer letters sent to him by skolebarn (school children). I should probably add that Norway’s a constitutional monarchy; the king has no real power, but serves as a public symbol of the nation (much like the English Queen Elizabeth).

The king lives together with Dronning Sonja (Queen Sonja, pronounce ’Sonya’) at Slottet – ’The Castle’ in central Oslo. They are both very popular among Norwegians, and spend a lot of time travelling at home and abroad as representatives of Norway. They’ve got two children: prinsesse Märtha Louise [MARE-tah loo-EES] (born in 1971) and kronprins Haakon [HAWK-on] (born in 1973). Even though Haakon is the youngest one, he’s the kronprins (crown prince) who’s one day going to take over the throne. (Yes, that’s just because he’s a man… Full likestilling, equality between the sexes, hasn’t reached the Norwegian monarchy yet.)

Haakon became verdensberømt (world famous) in 2001, when he married Mette-Marit, an alenemor (single-mom) from Kristiansand. A few years ago, such a relationship would have been unheard of in a royal family. Mette-Marit had a son from a former relationship, Marius, and together with Haakon she has got the daughter Ingrid Alexandra and the son Sverre Magnus. They live at the royal residence at Skaugum.

Harald and Sonja once again showed how modern and accepting foreldre (parents) they were in 2002, when they gave their blessings to Märtha Louise’s marriage to Ari Behn, a dandy-like forfatter (author) who had his breakthrough with a collection of short-stories called Trist som faen (Sad as h@ll). They’ve since got three daughters: Maud Angelica, Leah Isadora, Emma Tallulah. Märtha Louise’s interests have been the subject of controversies, especially after she went public about her belief in engler (angels).

Each 17. mai, the Norwegian Royal Family gathers on Slottsbalkongen (the Castle Balcony) to greet the people.

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.