Princess Märtha Louise celebrates 40th birthday
The controversial yet iconic figure, Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, turns 40 today.
Märtha Louise was the first-born child of His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja, but curiously did not inherit the title of crown princess. Until 1990, only males could inherit the throne. The law has since been changed to state that the first-born child inherits the throne regardless of gender, thus allowing His Royal Highness Crown Prince Håkon and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s daughter Ingrid Alexandra full rights to the throne.
On May 24 2002, Princess Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn. They have three daughters: Maud Angelica Behn, Leah Isadora Behn, and Emma Tallulah Behn.
Princess Märtha Louise is a certified physiotherapist, following education in Oslo and an internship in the Netherlands. She has not practiced her profession, however, choosing instead, from her fascination in traditional Norwegian folk tales as well as a love of music, to establish her own commercial entertainment business based on giving public and televised performances reciting folk tales and singing with well-known Norwegian choirs. In December 2003, she took part in Oslo Gospel Choir’s Christmas concert with a solo performance, included on the companion CD album.
In 2004, the Behn family moved to New York City, where Martha Louise published her first children’s book, Why Kings and Queens Don’t Wear Crowns, which explains some of the history of Norway’s first royal family.
In 2007, Princess Märtha Louise raised some eyebrows after establishing an alternative school in Norway where children can learn the art of getting in touch with angels.
The school is called “Astarte Education,” and offers a three-year course where children can be trained in, among other things, “reading,” healing,” and “touch.” It costs $4,100 per year, which is expensive by Norwegian standards.
“Angels are not physical beings. Some know them. Some see them. They are beings of light for me,” said the princess in an interview with NRK in 2007, when she admitted that she had had supernatural experiences since childhood.
“In particular, I remember an occasion as a little girl when I met a woman whom I did not know. I went over to her and told her that she didn’t need to be distressed about her husband, and that everything would be all right between them. The woman was astonished and wondered who had told me this. This caused a great fuss, and some concern among many of the grown-ups, because no-one wanted her to think that it was they who had been gossiping,” Princess Märtha Louise wrote for www.astarte-education.com.
These revelations have caused some concern with the Norwegian public.
“I understand that many people react to it. I have complete respect for that. It is important that all people have the right to believe what they want,” she said in an interview with NRK.
Many Norwegian believe the princess should revoke her title completely, which would allow her to do and say whatever she pleased without creating bad press for the Norwegian Royal Family. She already dropped part of her title, going from “Her Royal Highness” to simply “Her Highness,” when she married Ari Behn.
During an interview with Aftenposten, King Harald said that parents don’t always agree with their children and maintained that “What is important for us is that we love them.” When asked if it was on the table for her to revoke her title of princess, the king pointed out that the title simply means that Princess Märtha Louise is the daughter of the monarch. Revoking that title wouldn’t change who she is to the royal family.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian media is paying tribute to Princess Märtha Louise’s 40th birthday by bringing old photos to light from their considerable archives, and relaying fond memories of her birth.
Kjell Arne Totland, Norway’s foremost expert on the royal family, is one of those who remember the day.
“I remember very well when Crown Prince Harald who came out of the clinic, and showed with his hands how big his daughter was,” he said to NRK. “Princess Astrid had also said that he came to her home for dinner after his daughter’s birth, brilliantly happy. She had never seen him so happy before.”
Source: Staff compilation
*Click here or here to view a slideshow of photos from Martha Louise’s life.*
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