Meet Norway's Royal Family: All About the 1,000-Year-Old Monarchy

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King Harald V is current monarch of Norway, having acceded the throne in January 1991

HEIKO JUNGE/AFP/Getty
HEIKO JUNGE/AFP/Getty

Norway's monarchy stems back over 1,000 years.

The Scandinavian country was first ruled by Harald Fairhair, who is thought to have taken the throne around the year 885. Today, the country is under the rule of the House of Glücksburg, a European dynasty that has been in power in Norway since 1905. King Harald V of Norway acceded the throne on Jan. 17, 1991, and was consecrated, alongside his wife Queen Sonja, on June 23, 1991, at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

Next in the line of succession is Crown Prince Haakon, the second child and only son of King Harald and Queen Sonja. He married Crown Princess Mette-Marit in 2001. The royal couple are parents to two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus. Princess Mette-Marit also has a son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby.

The Norwegian royal family also has close ties to the British monarchy. The late Prince Philip, who was born into the Greek and Danish royal families, belonged to the House of Glücksburg. King Harald and the late Queen Elizabeth were also second cousins and shared the same great-grandparents.

Getty Images / Thais Reyes for PEOPLE
Getty Images / Thais Reyes for PEOPLE

Here's everything to know about the Norwegian royal family.

King Harald V and Queen Sonja

Born Feb. 21, 1937, King Harald V is Norway's current reigning monarch and the only son of King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha, formerly of Sweden. Harald ascended the throne in 1991 upon his father's death and, according to the Royal House of Norway, was the first king to be born in Norway in 567 years.

ERIK EDLAND/NTB SCANPIX/AFP via Getty Queen Sonja and King Harald
ERIK EDLAND/NTB SCANPIX/AFP via Getty Queen Sonja and King Harald

The youngest of three children, King Harald has two older sisters: Princess Ragnhild, who died in 2012, and Princess Astrid. At the time of Harald's birth, Norwegian law stated that only male heirs could inherit the throne — though in 1990, the law was amended to permit the eldest child, regardless of gender, to become monarch.

Harald's visit to the U.S. in 1960 was his first official state visit overseas. As King, he assumes an active role in the Norwegian government, having control over who will assume the role of prime minister. King Harald also holds the highest ranking in Norway's Army, Air Force and Navy.

On Aug. 29, 1968, King Harald married Sonja Haraldsen after knowing each other for nine years. Queen Sonja was raised in Oslo and studied French, English and art history at the University of Oslo. She has maintained an active interest in art and culture, having taken up ceramics as a hobby and extending her patronages to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

The couple have two children: Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise. In 2016, both King Harald and Queen Sonja appeared in a seven-part documentary about their lives as royals, during which Sonja spoke about having a miscarriage 46 years prior.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit

Rune Hellestad/Getty
Rune Hellestad/Getty

Crown Prince Haakon, the son of King Harald and Queen Sonja, is the next in line for the Norwegian throne. Born on July 20, 1973, Prince Haakon served in the Navy and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and the London School of Economics.

Over the years, he has had a taste of his future reign by stepping in for his father on several occasions. In 2003, Prince Haakon assumed the role of regent while King Harald was treated for bladder cancer. More recently, the heir held the title for a few months after his father contracted a viral infection.

Haakon met Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby through mutual friends in 1999. There was some initial concern surrounding the couple, as Mette-Marit had a young child, Marius, with her ex Morten Borg, who had been convicted of drug possession in the 1990s. Mette-Marit had also admitted to previous drug use and heavy partying herself. Despite the public's negative reaction, the two wed at the Oslo Cathedral on Aug. 25, 2001.

Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit have since welcomed two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus.

In October 2018, Princess Mette-Marit revealed that she had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease caused by damaged tissue.

"For a number of years, I have had health challenges on a regular basis, and now we know more about what these are in," she explained in a statement. "The condition means that the working capacity will vary."

She added that she and her husband chose to inform the general public about her condition as there would be periods when she would need to engage in treatments instead of royal appearances.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra

Rune Hellestad/Getty
Rune Hellestad/Getty

Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the elder of Haakon and Mette-Marit's two children and the second in line for the Norwegian throne.

According to the royal family's website, Princess Ingrid Alexandra is "very interested in environmental protection and climate change," and her first official royal engagement was held on World Environment Day in 2009.

She was confirmed at the royal chapel in August 2019, celebrating her country and heritage in a traditional Norwegian dress.

On Jan. 21, 2023, Princess Ingrid Alexandra celebrated her 19th birthday.

Prince Sverre Magnus

Per Ole Hagen/Getty
Per Ole Hagen/Getty

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit's youngest child is Prince Sverre Magnus.

Third in line for the throne, Sverre Magnus has attended fewer royal engagements but is often seen at family events such as his sister's 18th birthday ball in 2022. He is currently enrolled at Elvebakken Upper Secondary School, and he enjoys skiing and biking.

In May 2017, the then-11-year-old prince playfully broke royal protocol (and went viral) when he dabbed on the Royal Palace's balcony during his grandparents' — King Harald V and Queen Sonja — 80th birthday celebration.

Marius Borg Høiby

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty

Marius Borg Høiby is Crown Princess Mette-Marit's son from her previous relationship with Morten Borg.

Marius was only 2 when his mother married Crown Prince Haakon. Photos of the royal went viral in 2015 after the then-18-year-old attended a soccer game with his family.

In 2017, Høiby stepped down from public life as he began studying toward a business degree at an unspecified university in California.

"Høiby will not conduct any official activities on the Royal Family's behalf," the palace said in a statement.

Officials also removed his pages from the royal website, "on the basis of his wish to live outside the public eye."

Princess Märtha Louise

Patrick van Katwijk/WireImage
Patrick van Katwijk/WireImage

Princess Märtha Louise is the elder sister of Crown Prince Haakon. Born on Sept. 22, 1971, Märtha Louise was named after her paternal grandmother and second-great-grandmother. She graduated from the University of Oslo and subsequently became a certified physiotherapist. She has been outspoken about her interest in alternative medicine.

In November 2022, the princess officially announced that she was relinquishing her royal duties to focus on her personal life and other interests. Märtha Louise has not used the "Her Royal Highness" title since 2002. In a video posted to her royal Instagram account, she voiced that she was "concerned with health and research" and mentioned her training in physiotherapy. According to the royal family's website, she now "conducts various commercial activities under her sole proprietorship."

Märtha Louise was married to author Ari Behn from 2002 to 2017. They had three children: Maud Angelica, Leah Isadora and Emma Tallulah. Behn died by suicide on Dec. 25, 2019.

In June 2022, Märtha Louise got engaged to her American boyfriend, alternative therapist and self-professed shaman Durek Verrett. In May 2019, she described Verrett as her "twin flame." Verrett has been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories and unproven medical treatments.

Maud Angelica Behn

Maud Angelica Behn Instagram
Maud Angelica Behn Instagram

Maud Angelica Behn is Princess Märtha Louise and Behn's oldest child. Born on April 29, 2003, Maud Angelica is currently fifth in the line of succession.

At 16 years old, Maud Angelica gave a poignant speech at her father's funeral in 2019. She also placed a painting of Behn on top of his coffin, which she had intended to give him as a Christmas gift.

In 2022, she competed on Norway's version of The Masked Singer, Maskorama.

Leah Isadora Behn

Leah Isadora Behn Instagram
Leah Isadora Behn Instagram

Leah Isadora Behn is Princess Märtha Louise and Behn's second child, born on April 8, 2005. She is sixth in line for the throne.

In honor of her daughter's 15th birthday in 2020 — the first since Behn's death — Märtha Louise posted an Instagram tribute.

"Happy 15th Birthday, my wonderful Leah. You are an amazing young woman with so many talents; you are funny, kind, beautiful and graceful with a smart head on your shoulders. You are definitely the most organized person in the family- for which I am eternally grateful - and you have the gift of art from your dad that expresses itself through beautiful makeup IG posts," the princess wrote.

She added: "And although this day is bittersweet in more ways than one, you make the best of it and stay true to your emotions. You keep inspiring me every day, darling. I am so proud of you. Love you with all my heart."

As an influencer, model and makeup artist, Leah Isadora has more than 105,000 followers on her beauty Instagram account. She has worked with Dior, D2 magazine and Ole Henriksen.

Emma Tallulah Behn

Princess Martha Louise Instagram
Princess Martha Louise Instagram

Born on Sept. 29, 2008, Emma Tallulah Behn is the youngest of Princess Märtha Louise and Behn's daughters and seventh in the line of succession.

The teenager has a love for horses and often participates in competitions. In October 2021, Emma Tallulah won two classes at the Kingsland Oslo Horse Show.

"Thank you to Toril Hemmingby who trains Emma to perfection and to Christine Røhl who makes it all possible," Märtha Louise wrote on Instagram to congratulate her daughter. "It takes a village and I love how Emma's village expands every time we are at a show. Thank you to everyone who supports us."

Princess Astrid

Ragnar Singsaas/Getty
Ragnar Singsaas/Getty

Born on Feb. 12, 1932, Princess Astrid is King Harald's older sister. The 91-year-old royal's name is a tribute to her maternal aunt, Astrid of Sweden, later Queen of the Belgians.

Astrid married sailor and Olympic medalist Johan Martin Ferner on Jan. 12, 1961. They had five children: Cathrine, Benedikte, Alexander, Elisabeth and Carl-Christian; through their kids, Astrid and Ferner had seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Ferner died on Jan. 24, 2015, at 87 years old.

Astrid continues to perform royal duties and attends several royal engagements yearly. According to the royal website, she devotes particular attention to work with children and adolescents with dyslexia.

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