Like so many other families in their shell-shocked community, the Norweigan royal family have been personally affected by recent harrowing events.The Crown Princess of Norway’s step-brother was one of the first victims to be killed in the masscare that left 86 dead at a youth summer camp on Friday. Trond Berntsen, the son of Princess Mette-Marit’s late stepfather, was providing private security to the island retreat when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik opened fire.
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And the 37-year-old princess's suffering was etched on her face as she and her husband Crown Prince Haakon attended a special church service on Sunday.
It was held at the historic Norderhov Church on the Tri Fjord, near where the massacre on the island of Utoya occurred. Mette-Marit was visibly distraught as she offered sympathy and condolences to survivors of the attack and victims’ families. Her children, Marius, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus were also in attendance and lit candles in memory of the victims.Meanwhile, King Harald and Queen Sonja were accompanied by the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and their daughter Princess Martha Louise as they attended a service in Oslo cathedral.Overwhelmed with emotion, the king and queen bowed their heads and wept as Mr Stoltenberg told the gathered mourners they had witnessed a 'national tragedy'.
Friday's shootings on Utoya island, and a bomb attack at the government headquarters in Oslo, which killed at least seven, have left Norway in a state of shock. A minute's silence was held throughout the country on Monday in honour of all those killed, and was also observed in Sweden, its closest neighbour.