Maud of Wales

Maud of Wales

Photo: public domain
Maud of Wales (1869 – 1938) was crowned Queen of Norway on June 22, 1906.

Sun City, Calif.

Maud of Wales was born Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria on Nov. 26, 1869, at Marlborough House mansion in St. James, Westminster, London, to Prince of Wales Albert Edward and Princess of Wales Alexandra and was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Maud spent most of her childhood at Sandringham House and her father, Edward II, gave her Appleton House on the estate as a country residence for her future visits to England where she visited all of her life. She studied under private tutors, and in addition to learning reading and writing, she was taught dance, horse riding, painting, wood carving, and piano. 

Her mother encouraged her to pursue photography, an interest she followed throughout her life. Maud loved animals, especially horses and dogs, and she continued her love of horse riding and caring for the stables.

Maud of wales

Photo: Nasjonalmuseet
Dronning Maud was a fashion icon of her day. This gown was created with machine-woven gold thread.

Throughout her childhood, she used to visit Denmark every year, along with her mother and siblings, where she used to play with her cousins, forming a strong bond with them. Later, they would go on cruises to the Mediterranean and Norway.

During her annual visits to Denmark, she met her future husband, Prince Carl of Denmark. Carl was the second son of her mother’s eldest brother, Crown Prince Frederick. They eventually got married on July 22, 1896. She was 26, and Carl was 24.

 In June 1905, the parliament of Norway decided to break its union with Sweden and offered the throne of Norway to Carl. He accepted the throne and was crowned King Haakon VII. He and his wife, Maud, were crowned King and Queen of Norway on June 22, 1906. They had one son, Prince Alexander, who later became King Olav V of Norway.

The queen quickly adapted to Norwegian ways, playing an important role in the administration and family but keeping a low profile in public. She enjoyed skiing and supported many charitable causes, providing encouragement to artists and musicians.  She never lost her love of England and continued to visit her childhood home every year.

Maud of Wales

Photo: Nasjonalmuseet
This elaborate silk evening dress was hand-embroidered with metallic thread.

As a public figure, Maud was a reserved in demeanor, but as a private person, she was energetic and exhibited a strong sense of humor, often cracking jokes. She had a great sense of fashion and style, and an exhibition of her wardrobe was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005.

Maud was a benevolent queen and supported several charitable causes. In 1906, she gave her support to a home for unwed mothers. During the First World War, she set up the Queen’s Relief Committee, and she supported the Children’s Exhibition in 1921. 

On her visit to England in October 1938, the queen became ill, and an abdominal operation had to be performed on Nov. 16, 1938. Her husband joined her there, but sadly, she died of heart failure on Nov. 20, 1938. Her body was returned to Norway, where she is buried in the royal mausoleum at Akershus Castle in Oslo.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 17, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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David Moe

David Moe graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, and earned his master's degree from San Francisco (Calif.) State University. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy and 32 years in the insurance business. He and his wife, Thordis, have two daughters and four grandchildren. They live in Sun City, Calif.