Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway was born Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby on 19 August, 1973. The future wife of Crown Prince Haakon was born in Kristiansand, and was the daughter of journalist Sven O. Høiby and former bank clerk Marit Tjessem. The couple divorced in 1984.
Mette-Marit and her three siblings grew up in the southern part of Norway and holidayed on the coast where the princess-to-be cultivated a love of sailing. A natural born leader and sportswoman, she took up volleyball in secondary school and later became a coach in the sport.
Academically, Mette-Marit spent six months studying in Australia before completing her final exams at Kristiansand Katedralskole in 1994. She took the preliminary university examination at Agder College, and later attended classes at the University of Oslo.
Meeting Crown Prince Haakon
Mette-Marit met the crown prince through mutual friends shortly after he returned from his studies at the University of California. The couple moved in together, and the young woman suddenly found her life (which included her three-year-old son, Marius, who she shared with a convicted felon) under fierce scrutiny. Many questioned the Crown Prince's choice of partner, and when Haakon and Mette-Marit got engaged in 2000, there was still a lot of insecurity about the pairing.
Before the couple married in 2001, Mette-Marit had to make radical adjustments to her life in order to fit in with the Norwegian royal family's life and customs. But the young princess' careful attention to making these changes and the royal family's clear support for her began to swing public opinion in her favour. Mette-Marit won praise for her courage when she made a public statement about regretting her wilder past at a press conference a few days before her 25 August wedding.
On January 21, 2004 Mette-Marit gave birth to daughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra. Thanks to Norway's adoption of absolute primogeniture in 1990, Ingrid is Norway's first ever female heir to the throne. Her little brother, Prince Sverre Magnus, was born in December 2005.