Sunday, September 16, 2012

Royal Profile: HH Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs Lorentzen

Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs Lorentzen was born the eldest daughter of King Olav V of Norway and Princess Märtha of Sweden, making her the elder sister of King Harald. She was born on 9 June 1930, the first Norwegian Princess born on Norwegian soil in 629 years, the last being Princess Ingeborg of Norway in 1301.

During World War II, the Princess fled the Nazi invasion with her family, spending the wartime years in exile with her mother and siblings in Washington, DC.

In 1971, her sister-in-law, Queen Sonja gave birth to a baby girl, Princess Märtha Louise, in which Princess Raghild was named a godmother to.

As she was the great-granddaughter of Edward VII of the United Kingdom, she was also in the line of succession to the British throne, and a second cousin to Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. Princess Ragnhild's aunt (her mother's sister) became Queen Astrid of Belgium, which also made Princess Ragnhild a maternal first cousin to Baudouin of Belgium and his successor Albert II of Belgium.

Princess Ragnhild married Erling S. Lorentzen, a commoner of the Norwegian merchant upper-class, in Asker on 15 May 1953, after which the princess is titled Her Highness Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen. There was great controversy when the princess married Lorentzen, a business man and army officer who had served as her bodyguard during the War, as she was the first Norwegian Royal to marry a commoner. Soon after the couple's wedding, it was announced that the flag of Norway would no longer be flown on the princess's birthday (9 June). The couple moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where her husband has substantial business holdings, originally as a temporary residence, but they eventually settled there, and remained her in until her death in 2012. Together, they have three children and six grandchildren:
  1. Haakon Lorentzen (1954)
    1. Olav Alexander Lorentzen (1985)
    2. Christian Frederik Lorentzen (May 1988)
    3. Sophia Anne Lorentzen (1994)
  2. Ingeborg Lorentzen (1957)
    1. Victoria Ragna Lorentzen Ribeiro (December 1988)
  3. Ragnhild Alexandra Lorentzen (1968)
    1. Alexandra Lorentzen Long (2007)
    2. Elizabeth Lorentzen Long (2011)
As a member of the extended Norwegian royal family, Princess Ragnhild carried out no official state duties, but did attend family events such as royal weddings.  A staunch conservative, Princess Ragnhild publicly criticized her niece and nephew, Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, for their choice of spouses, on TV 2, a Norwegian television network, in 2004. Princess Ragnhild was also Patron of the Norwegian Organisation for the Hearing Impaired.

Throughout her life, Princess Ragnhild has had numerous honors bestoyed upon her. Some of these honors include: a 540 000 km² area in Antarctica is named Princess Ragnhild Coast and The Jahre Line (later Color Line) cruiseferry MS Prinsesse Ragnhild.  She also held numerous honors from Norway, Brazil, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

She is survived by her husband of 59 years, two daughters and son, two son-in-laws, a daughter-in-law, four granddaughters (ranging in ages from a year to 18 years of age), two grandsons (ages 27 & 24), an older sister, a brother-in-law, an older brother, a sister-in-law, four nieces, three nephews,  a stepnephew, six great nieces, four great nephews, three nephews-in-law and two nieces in law.

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