Friday, January 21, 2011

[Norway] Unique glimpse at royal days from the past

The book focuses on the years when the late Crown Princess Märtha was at the center of attention and when, as author Morten Ole Mørch claims, Norway’s monarchy evolved into a strong institution. Märtha was a Swedish princess and the cousin of her suitor, Norway’s dashing young Crown Prince Olav, father of today’s King Harald V.
There are many photos of today’s king as a little boy, along with his two older sisters, princesses Ragnhild and Astrid. The book, however, concentrates on their mother, Crown Princess Märtha, and, to some degree, her mother-in-law Maud, the British princess who married a Danish prince and eventually, as fate and politics would have it, became queen of Norway while continuing to speak English.

The vast array of photos is accompanied by straightforward biographical history of the royal family members and the times themselves, from the roaring 20s through the 1930s, the war years and the post-war years, when the royals came home from exile in Britain and the United States to a nation suffering after the German occupation but keen to rebuild. There’s a lot of history packed between the covers, including detailed accounts of major events like the death of Queen Maud, and the book is available in English as well as Norwegian, instead of only being in Norwegian with some English summaries or captions.

Prince Harald holding hands with his older sister, during a visit from American students at their family home at Skaugum after the war. PHOTO: Bastion Forlag
Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha arriving at her family's summer home in Sweden with their young princesses, Ragnhild and Astri. PHOTO: Bastion Forlag

Queen Maud at her desk in the Royal Palace in Oslo. PHOTO: Bastion Forlag

 King Haakon (from left), Queen Maud, Crown Princess Märtha and Crown Prince Olav on official duties in 1938, just before Maud's death in England later that year. PHOTO: Bastion Forlag
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