Sunday, 12 September 2010
What to see: Statue of Crown Princess Märtha, Oslo
It is now already 3 ½ years since the moving ceremony where King Harald, close to tears, unveiled the statue of the mother he lost when he was seventeen. Kirsten Kokkin’s statue of Crown Princess Märtha stands in the Palace Park in Oslo, looking towards the Palace which because of her death had to do without a queen for 52 years (in fact it is only this year that the current dynasty has had a queen for a longer time than it was without one).
The statue was the Parliament’s present to the King on his 70th birthday and was cast in bronze as a replica of the statue of Crown Princess Märtha which was erected outside the Norwegian ambassador’s residence in Washington in 2005 in recognition of the tremendously important work the Crown Princess did for her country while in exile in the USA during World War II. The statue in Washington was a gift from Americans to Norway in connection with the 2005 centenary of the dissolution of the union of crowns with Sweden.
The Norwegian-American sculptor Kirsten Kokkin wrote: “I saw her coming out of the Norwegian Embassy to meet the United States and the world, representing Norway. She is in a strong forward leaning posture with her hand raised to greet the world. The opening of her coat is slightly blown aside to describe as resistant wind. Yet she is composed and willful, and dressed as the elegant and feminine woman she was. It was never an option to do her in full gala, since in the US she was a refugee”.
In 2008 Princess Astrid unveiled a second replica, this time outside the Norwegian church in Stockholm which bears her mother’s name (last photo). Thus there are now statues of Crown Princess Märtha in the three cities which were most important in her life.
The sculptor’s own first memory of the Crown Princess was from her childhood, of “a stately woman yet feminine with a peculiar way of waving her hand”. Her mother always told her that “this was how a truly royal woman waved!”