Crown Prince Haakon of Norway



There can be very few crown princes in the world who would take as their princess a single mother with a "past". But the Norwegian heir to the throne is not your average crown prince.

Way before his engagement to Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby was announced, he went public with their relationship in a remarkable TV interview, acknowledging his girlfriend"s participation in Oslo's "house party" scene, and then he went to live in an Oslo apartment with her and her young son.

Born on July 20, 1973, at Rikshospital in Oslo, Haakon Magnus is the younger child of King Harald V and his wife Sonja (his sister, Martha Louise, is two years older than him). The young prince's childhood, spent at the family's country estate of Skaugum, was idyllic. The young Haakon's sole public duty was on Constitution Day, May 17 of each year, when he would wave to the children's procession from the palace balcony.

Prince Haakon he became Crown Prince on the death of his grandfather Olav in January 1991 was educated at local state schools, before beginning a four-year naval career. Then he began setting royal precedents.

Rather than follow his father and his grandfather before him to Balliol, said to be the most intellectual of Oxford University's colleges, the crown prince enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he gained a Bachelor's degree in political science. He continued his education at Oslo University, where he studied law and social science.

Soon after his return from the States Haakon was introduced by mutual friends to single mum Mette-Marit, and the two fell deeply in love. Setting another precedent, Haakon moved in with Mette and her four-year-old son, Marius, and the three lived as any normal family would, visiting coffee bars and grocery shopping together in jeans and trainers.

The leaders of Norway's Lutheran church were not impressed to see its future head openly "living in sin" with a single mother, and Haakon soon came into the firing line for endangering the status of the monarchy. The announcement of an engagement in December 2000 smoothed the waters, however. Haakon married Mette-Marit on August 25, in Oslo, settling his new wife and stepson into his own childhood home of Skaugum. On January 21, 2004, the family grew with the arrival of daughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra who becomes Norway's first ever female heir to the throne. And her little brother, Prince Sverre Magnus, arrived in December 2005.

Like many of Europe's princes, Haakon is sporty and athletic, with a passion for sailing, skiing, surfing, cycling and paragliding. A theatre lover with a penchant for Ibsen plays, the prince also likes cinema, music and literature.

Click here for more information on the Norweigan royal family
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