by Susan Flantzer
Princess Märtha Louise was born at Rikshospitalet in Oslo, Norway on September 22, 1971. She is the elder of the two children of King Harald V of Norway and Queen Sonja (born Sonja Haraldsen) and she has one brother, Crown Prince Haakon. The princess is named after her grandmother, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, born Princess Märtha of Sweden, and her great great grandmother Queen Louise of Denmark, born Princess Louise of Sweden. Märtha Louise is a descendant of the eldest son of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom via his youngest daughter Maud who married King Haakon VII of Norway.
When Märtha Louise was born, as a female, she was not in the line of succession. In 1990, Norway’s succession law was changed to not only include females in the succession, but also to allow absolute primogeniture in which the eldest child succeeds to the throne regardless of gender. However, it was decided that this would apply only to those born after 1990, so even though Märtha Louise was older than her brother Haakon, he remained ahead of her in the line of succession.
Märtha Louise began her primary education at the Smestad School, a public school in Oslo, Norway. She completed her secondary education at Kristelig Gymnasium in Oslo in 1990, with an emphasis on languages. Growing up, Märtha Louise sung in a choir, played the flute, was a member of a folk dancing group at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and was an avid equestrian.
In the autumn of 1990, Märtha Louise moved to England to improve her equestrian skills at Waterstock House Training Centre and to study literature at the University of Oxford. She later trained at Arena UK to perfect her skills as a show jumper. The princess participated on the Norwegian National Show Jumping Team, retiring from competition in 2000.
When she returned to Norway in 1992, Märtha Louise studied at Bjørknes Privatskole (Wikipedia article translated by Google Translator) for a year, and then enrolled in a physiotherapy education program at Oslo University College. In December 1997, she was awarded her formal qualification as a physiotherapist and in 2000, she qualified as a Rosen Method therapist.
Since 2002, Princess Märtha Louise has had a business in which she conducts cultural work and her work as a Rosen therapist. She has been active in spreading traditional Norwegian fairy tales to a wider audience, starred in a storytelling series on Norwegian television, authored several books and audio books, and participated in the production of television programs for children.
Princess Märtha Louise became engaged to the author Ari Behn on December 13, 2001. The couple were married in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway on May 24, 2002. For more information about the wedding see: The Royal House of Norway: The wedding of Princess Märtha Louise. In August 2016, it was announced that the couple have separated and that they would divorce.
Princess Märtha Louise and her husband have three daughters who follow their mother in the line of succession.
Maud Angelica Behn, born at Rikshospitalet in Oslo, Norway on April 29, 2003, is the eldest grandchild of King Harald V of Norway. She was baptized on July 2, 2003 in the Palace Chapel at the Royal Palace in Oslo, exactly 100 years after her great-grandfather, King Olav V, was born, and was carried to her baptism by her grandfather, King Harald V. The other godparents were Crown Prince Haakon (her maternal uncle), Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (maternal 3rd cousin once removed), Anja Sabrina Bjørshol (her paternal aunt), Marianne Ulrichsen (her mother’s friend and maid of honor), Kåre Conradi (her father’s friend and best man), and Trond Giske (her father’s friend).
Leah Isadora Behn was born at her parents’ summer home, Bloksbjerg, on Hankø Island in Fredrikstad, Norway on April 8, 2005. Princess Märtha Louise said she picked the name Leah because she traveled extensively in the Middle East, and the name Leah comes from there. The princess also admitted that she has always been a huge Star Wars fan and especially liked Princess Leia. Isadora was in honor of the dancer Isadora Duncan’s life and tragic death. Leah was baptized on June 16, 2005 in the Palace Chapelat the Royal Palace in Oslo and was carried to her baptism by her grandmother Queen Sonja. The other godparents were Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Espen Bjørshol (her paternal uncle), Gry Brusletto, Katharina Salbu, Didrik Vigsnæs and Jon Andreas Håtuna.
Emma Tallulah Behn born at the family home in Lommedalen, Norway on September 29, 2008. She was christened in the Palace Chapel at the Royal Palace in Oslo on January 20, 2009. Her paternal grandmother Marianne Solberg Behn carried her to her baptism. The other godparents were Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Alexia of Greece, Sigvart Dagsland, Anbjørg Sætre Håtuna, Carl Christian Christensen and Christian Udnæss.
Read more about the Norwegian Royal Family here.