KING HARALD OF NORWAY
Harald, the current King of Norway, ascended the throne on the death of his father, King Olav V, on January 17, 1991. Like his father and his grandfather, King Haakon VII, he has adopted the motto "All for Norway".
The crowning of Harald was a historical event in that he was the first Norwegian king in 567 years to actually have been born in Norway. His grandfather Haakon was Prince Carl of Denmark before he was elected King of Norway in 1905, while his grandmother Maud was the daughter of the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra of Britain.
Harald's mother was the daughter of the Swedish Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg.
When he was three, Hitler's troops invaded Norway. The Royal Family was one of their primary targets. Forced to flee in great haste, King Haakon, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and the government left the capital by train only hours before the occupation forces arrived.
The Crown Prince and the Crown Princess parted company at Hamar. Crown Princess Märtha and the children crossed the border into Sweden under cover of darkness on April 10. Several months later they went to the USA. The Crown Princess, Prince Harald and his two elder sisters, Ragnhild and Astrid lived just outside Washington D.C. until the liberation in 1945.
After the liberation, Prince Harald attended Smestad Primary School, a Norwegian state school. Apart from the police guard in the corridor, his schooling was no different from that of other children. He went on to compulsory military service and then studied political science.
As a crown prince Harald made a name for himself as a sailor. In 1987 he won the world championships with his new yacht, the one-ton "Fram X" which was a gift from the Norwegian business community on his fiftieth birthday.
King Harald's 1968 marriage to Sonja Haraldson, after a a nine-year courtship, raised a hefty public debate in Norway about the future of the monarchy. Sonja, a dressmaker from Oslo, was a "commoner" and not related by blood to any of the European royal families. But Sonja was soon to capture the hearts of the Norwegian people. She brought a warmth and openness into the Royal Family that strengthened the position of the monarchy in Norway.
King Harald have two children, Princess Martha Louise born on September 22,1971 and Prince Haakon born on July 20, 1973. They reside at King Harald's childhood home "Skagum" on the outskirts of Oslo but plan to move to the Royal Palace at a later date.