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Tearful Mette-Marit marks anniversary of Utoya massacre

23 JULY 2012

One year on the grief is still raw for Crown Princess Mette-Marit, as for so many of her countrymen.

The Norwegian royal struggled with her tears as she attended a service of remembrance in Oslo for those who perished at the hands of Anders Behring Breivik.

 

Princess Mette-marit

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Flanked by her husband Prince Haakon, Mette-Marit observed a minute of silence for the 77 victims of the double terror attack.

Breivik admitted to setting off a bomb in Oslo outside a government complex on July 22, 2011, before running amok with a gun on the island of Utoya two hours later.

Among those who lost their lives on that terrible day was the princess' stepbrother Trond Berntsen, the son of her late stepfather.

Mette-Marit's brother was providing security at the holiday camp on the island when he was shot.

He was in her thoughts as Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urged Norwegians to "honour the dead by celebrating life".

"The bombs and bullets were intended to change Norway. The Norwegian people responded by reasserting our values," he said. "The perpetrator failed to achieve what he set out to do. The people triumphed."

With that perpetrator due to be sentenced next month, pending the outcome of a psychiatric evaluation to determine his mental state, the premier called on people to remember their loved ones with joy.

"No one can take the warm memories away from you. A father's reassuring hand. The sounds from a child's playroom. The memories of goodness and joy cannot be erased," he said. 

 

Princess Mette-Marit



Mr Stoltenberg finished by making a plea for communities to help those still unable to overcome their loss.

"We will not forget you when the long days of summer give way to autumn darkness," he promised. "Reach out. Show that you care. A chat about everyday things could help someone regain their will to live."

In another act of solidarity, the royals also visited a church on the island to light a candle, and Haakon attended a gig featuring Bruce Springsteen.

Like the other 50,000 concert goers the future king carried a single red rose as a symbol of hope.



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