Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Royal Profile: King Harald V of Norway
King Harald V of Norway was born 21 February 1937, just outside of Olso, Norway, the only son and youngest child of Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha. He has two older sisters, Princess Ragnhild (1930) and Princess Astrid (1932). At the time of his birth, the succession laws in Norway were salic, otherwise known as male-only. As of 1990, the succession laws changed so it gives the oldest child, regardless of gender as heir (for example,
Prince Haakon's oldest daughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra will be queen regent).
When then Prince Harald was just three years old, he and his family fled to Sweden and then to the United States for the remainder of the war. In May (he,his mother & sisters) and June (his father) 1945, the family returned to Norway, which was widely celebrated by the people of Norway.
After the family's return to Norway, Prince Harald began to attend school at Smestad School, with a security guard stationed in the halls for his protection. Other than having a security guard follow him everywhere, his school days were relatively typical. He received his school leaving certificate from Oslo Cathedral School in 1955. After his formal education ended, he began a military career by attending the Norwegian Cavalry Officers’ Training School and went on to finish his military education at the Military Academy in 1959. From 1960-1962, he studied at Oxford University's Balliol College, where he earned a degree in social science, history and economics.
When his grandfather, King Haakon VII died in the fall of 1957, Prince Harald became Crown Prince Harald. It was at this time, that Crown Prince Harald began to attend to affairs of the estate, like attending the Council of State meetings, and acting as regent for his father in hs abesence. When he was 23 years old, he made his first official state visit abroad to the United States to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.
In the spring of 1968, after a nine year courtship, his engagement to commoner Miss Sonja Haraldsen from Vinderen, Norway was announced. The wedding was held in Oslo Cathedral on 29 August 1968. The newlywed Crown Prince and Crown Princess were received with great jubilation by people throughout the country. The Crown Princess assumed her share of the official duties. They have two children, Princess Märtha Louise, born on 22 September 1971, and Crown Prince Haakon, born on 20 July 1973.
In the spring of 1990, his father fell ill and Crown Prince Harald became regent. In 1991, his father died, and he ascended the throne.
In his spare time, he is an avid hunter and fisherman. He is also an Olympian, having appeared on Norway's behalf for the 1964 Sailing Summer Games in Toyko.
Today the King has been married for 43 years (will be 44 years in August), and has two children, two children-in-laws, four granddaughters, a grandson and a step-grandson.
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