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No matter where you stand on the subject of monarchy (Indifferent? Fascinated? Furious at the outdated concept?), there’s something we can all agree on: royal families know how to make headlines in the news. But as the whole world is looking at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s every move due to their impending nuptials, Norwegians chuckle discreetly in the background. Because they know: their own Royal Family is way cooler than the Windsors —and probably everyone else who currently wears a crown. Here’s why.
It says something about Norwegians’ love for the active lifestyle, that their own King has actually participated in the Olympic Games three times. HM King Harald the V has always been a keep sportsman: he fell in love with rowing back in his days in Oxford, represented his Norway in sailing (back when he was a Crown Prince) at the Olympics of 1964, 1968, and 1972 — and still sails to this day. At age 79, he was dubbed ‘Sailor King’ by the Canadian media because he participated, and came second, in the World Championships for sailing in Toronto. But it’s not just sailing: at his 80th birthday, he took his family to South Africa… for surfing. And every skiing event happening in Norway, rest assured King Harald will be there, dressed in informal sports gear, cheering the athletes on.
OTP stands for, ‘One True Pairing’ — and that’s exactly what’s happening with Their Majesties ever since they met in the early ’60s. Since Queen Sonja was a commoner back then, they were dating in secret for almost a decade, until Harald vowed to his father that he would never marry if he wasn’t allowed to marry Sonja. That would mean practically ending Norway’s royal line, since he was the sole heir — so the happy couple married in Oslo in 1968. What is more, they just seem so happy and in love after all this years: we dare you to watch this video of King Harald calling Queen Sonja ‘a troll’ to her face and both laughing like teenagers about it, and not have your faith in love restored.
And just like King Harald fell in love with a commoner and broke protocol, so did HRH Crown Prince Haakon Magnus. Haakon met Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby at a rock festival in 1996 and, if you think Prince Harry is a rebel for marrying a divorcee, listen to this: Mette-Marit was a waitress, a college drop-out and a single mom. Neither of these things mattered to Haakon, so the couple got married in 2001 with the blessings of his father, the King. They have two kids together: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus and are the epitome of the cool couple that does inspiring things. They’re helping grow Oslo’s tech scene, they’ve been involved in numerous charities and organisations and, in Haakon’s case, they like pulling pranks to the King and Queen every now and then.
HH Prince Sverre Magnus is third in line to the throne (after his sister) — but he’s also 13 years old and will not hesitate to show it. Far from the perfect photos of the well-behaved children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Sverre Magnus likes to poke fun at even the most formal occasions. He has been seen pointedly yawning during a traditional parade and he made the news last year when he dabbed (yes, as in the Drake dance move) during the King and Queen’s birthday celebrations. The best thing? No-one seems to be annoyed at him being a child.
Remember we mentioned HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit being a single mom? Well, her son, Marius Borg Hoiby is 20 years old — and not technically a part of the Royal Family, thus exempt from performing Royal duties (that was actually his decision). So what does he do? He’s mostly in Los Angeles, surfing. His family loves him and supports him very much, and they’re trying to get the press to respect his privacy and not follow him around for photos.
It’s a very interesting paradox of the Norwegian society: the King, is actually more progressive than the current PM. Although most kings in Europe have predominantly ornamental roles (the Queen of the United Kingdom famously refuses to talk about politics — something the whole Royal Family adheres to), King Harald does not hesitate to be very vocal about the causes he believes in. He’s the only reigning monarch to express so strongly his views for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, as well as his views against racism, religious intolerance and ableism. In one of his riveting speeches, he says that a Norwegian can be someone who has immigrated from the other end the world, that his own family also immigrated from Denmark once, and that we should all just love one another. We’re pretty sure it would be illegal for HM King Harald to run for President of the U.S.A, but can you blame us for wishing he could?