29 AUGUST 2002
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his wife Princess Mette-Marit’s hopes for a low-key move to London were dashed this week when the secret location of their new home was revealed on just the second day. On Wednesday the crown royals, accompanied by Mette-Marit’s five-year-old son from a previous relationship, quickly slipped past waiting photographers as they left their new home in Bramham Gardens, Earl’s Court, where rent can run upwards of £3,500 to £6,000 per month.
Haakon and Mette-Marit’s apartment is located on the top floor; the only one of the 20 units to have its own entrance from the rear of the complex. Norwegian royal security agents have also rented a flat in the building. And it seems the new royal abode is not yet completely furnished, as movers were spotted bringing a large Ikea mattress into the apartment.
The pair are in the capital city to study for a year – Haakon at the London School of Economics, and his spouse at the School of Oriental and African studies. “These are among the world’s top schools in our fields,” says Haakon, “and we’ll start there with humility and respect.” Little Marius will be attending an English school during their stay.
Two days before their UK move, the couple invited guests to their Ullevaalsvein, Norway, flat to mark the first anniversary of their August 25 wedding. “It was a lovely day,” says Mette-Marit. “It was very important for us to celebrate with family and friends, and to let it be an anniversary just for us two.”
One year on from their romantic Oslo ceremony, Mette-Marit shrugs off rumours that she is pregnant, and reveals she recently quit smoking due to a bout with pneumonia last spring. “I stopped smoking while I was in hospital,” she says. “I haven’t had a cigarette since.”