3 MARCH 2006

As they prepare for the March 4 christening of their youngest child, Prince Sverre Magnus, Norwegian royals Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Princess Mette-Marit have released new photos of their growing brood.

The newest member of the household, and the focus of this Saturday's ceremony, takes centre stage in the images – which were taken in the couple's home in Skaugum, near Oslo - along with his older sister Princess Ingrid Alexandra. Meanwhile Marius, the Crown Princess' nine-year-old son from a previous relationship, keeps a loving eye on his mum from the background.

In another the shot, the heir to the Norwegian throne, who is not long back from a winter break with his family in the ski resort of Lillehammer, gently cradles his son in his arms.

Although the ceremony is scheduled to be lower key than the April 2004 baptism of the little prince's sister, who is destined to be Queen one day, several royal guests are due to attend, including Queen Margrethe and Frederik and Mary of Denmark and Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria.

The couple's younger child will also have a full complement of godparents – seven in total. These are his grandmother Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, Crown Princess Mette-Marit's brother Espen Høiby and Bjørn Steinsland and Marianne Gjellestad, who are personal friends of Haakon and Mette.

Photo: ©
The Norwegian crown prince cradles his son in his arms as proud mum Mette-Marit places her hand on her husband's in an affectionate gesture Photo: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
The crown prince and his wife with their two children together - new arrival Sverre Magnus and his sister Ingrid Alexandra - and Mette-Marit's nine-year-old son Marius Photo: © AFP