22 MAY 2002
The countdown has begun to Norway’s second royal wedding in a year, that of Princess Martha Louise and her fiancé, writer Ari Behn. The nuptial celebrations prior to Friday’s big event began Wednesday in Trondheim with a morning press conference and photo shoot for the happy couple in the lush grounds of Stiftsgarden palace.
A radiant Martha Louise, wearing a springtime trouser suit in fuchsia – one of her favourite colours – and her fiancé Ari, who donned a dark suit, happily discussed everything from the princess’s views on the future to Ari’s controversial past.
The future bride and groom set a romantic tone, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. “I look forward to maintaining the love and respect I feel for Ari now,” said the princess. “To meet life together with someone is wonderful. To grow and develop together – that must be the dream.”
Martha Louise also revealed that her husband-to-be had not given up his bohemian social circle, but past and present friends are choosing how they are going to relate to his new life – perhaps a reference to the fact that risqué photos of Ari, sold to a magazine by a former buddy, were published this week.
The 29-year-old author, who also was in hot water after comments he made in a TV documentary seemed to condone the use of illegal drugs, responded frankly to a question on whether he regrets his former lifestyle. “No, not really,” he said. “I have had a rich life and met wonderful people. I’m comfortable with what I have done with my life and I want to give something back in my writing.”
The extensive wedding festivities are well underway, with a private royal gathering scheduled for Wednesday night and a gala concert and reception slated for Thursday. The wedding itself will take place at 4pm on Friday, with the princess being driven to Nidaros Cathedral in a horse-drawn carriage. After the nuptials, the newlyweds will walk through the streets of Trondheim back to Stiftsgarden palace for the traditional wedding banquet.