Norwegian royals star in Christmas family photo shoot

The Norwegian royal family are feeling festive. With the countdown for Christmas well and truly underway, the palace have released a series of photos in celebration of the holidays that show Crown Prince Haakon, his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit accompanied by their three children, King Harald and Queen Sonja, posing together around a Christmas tree.

One sweet snapshot shows 11-year-old Princess Ingrid and her younger brother, Prince Sverre, 10, decorating the tree together, carefully placing trinkets on the branches, which have been decked out in white roses and small Norwegian flags.

Princess Ingrid and Prince Sverre decorate the family Christmas tree

The children are joined by their older brother, Marius Borg Høiby – from Mette Marit's previous relationship – their parents and grandparents for a family photo around the tree, and a final picture shows them all sitting and standing around a plush velvet sofa.

The photo session took place at Skaugum, the official residence of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Royal watchers will no doubt relish the chance to have a sneak peek inside the royal living room, which is lined with bookcases and includes a number of family photographs arranged on the tables.

Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit with their three children, and Haakon's parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit, 42, have previously spoken about their "normal" family life together. Speaking in a rare joint interview to national newspaper Dagbladet last year, they insisted they share the same worries as any other parent.

"We're normal and vulnerable people," the 42-year-old prince said. "When I have problems, I breathe deeply and think, 'I'm just having a bad day'. And then I'll start afresh the next day, bearing in mind that it's a new day.

The family photo shoot took place at Skaugum

His greatest support comes from his wife of 14 years. "Mette has this great talent of connecting with people, so that they open up and feel good," Haakon added. "Her empathy is a talent. The same thing happens with the children. If they have problems, they go to her. She knows how to deal with them well."

"Thanks Haakon but that isn't completely true," his wife replied. "The children also go to you asking for advice and help."

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