18 OCTOBER 2007

King Harald of Norway has leapt to the defence of his daughter Princess Martha Louise in the wake of recent controversy surrounding her business ventures. The 70-year-old monarch told reporters during a state visit to Germany on Monday that his eldest child is "a grown person and makes her own choices, just like everyone else".

"Our family is quite similar to all other families – we support one another in such situations," he added.

The royal patriarch's comments came after 36-year-old Martha Louise became the first Norwegian royal to appear in a court of law. She was settling a legal action she'd taken against a publishing company that wanted to use her image on the cover of a book about angels - which she said exploited her own interest in heavenly beings.

Having given their daughter the freedom to pursue her own career King Harald and Queen Sonja have been reluctant to interfere with her ventures – which some Norwegian commentators feel inappropriate for a member of the royal family.

Martha, who's fourth in line to the throne and married to author Ari Behn, initially trained as a physiotherapist. This summer she founded Astarte Education, an establishment to help students harness the power of angels.

Photo: ©
The princess' dad, who visited Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Monday, told reporters his daughter is an adult and will make her own decisions Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Martha Louise is the first Norwegian royal to appear in court. She filed a case against a publishing company who planned on using her image for commercial purposes Photo: © Getty Images
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