Tuesday, 1 November 2011

My latest article: Royal appeasers

On Friday I attended the release of the fifth volume of Tor Bomann-Larsen’s biography of King Haakon and Queen Maud, Æresordet (published by Cappelen Damm). The media has made a big deal out of the fact that the author quotes a letter the then Crown Prince Olav wrote to his cousin the Prince of Wales in December 1935, advocating rapproachment between Britain and Germany. While this has been presented as a huge revelation it is in fact not a revelation at all, given that Philip Ziegler writes about it in his official biography of Edward VIII, which was published in 1990, and that I quoted from the letter in my biography of King Olav and Crown Princess Märtha (Dronningen vi ikke fikk - En biografi om kronprinsesse Märtha og kong Olav) eight years ago.
What I have been missing in the media is the context in which this should be seen, which is not, as Professor Trond Nordby claimed in a radio debate we took part in on Friday, that Crown Princess Märtha’s family were Nazi sympathisers (they were most certainly not), but that Crown Prince Olav’s closest family was his mother’s British family and that the British royal family were all warm supporters of appeasement until the bitter end. About this I have written a short article (external link) which is published in Aftenposten, Norway’s biggest newspaper, today.


  1. This seems like a very interesting book, I look forward to reading it.

  2. So far I am halfway and it is indeed a good read. There is not very much new in it so far, but by having had access to some new material Tor Bomann-Larsen is able to deepen our knowledge somewhat and add some nuances, but most importantly he has, as the first author, had access to King Haakon's own papers and is thus able to give us the King's version as well, which is certainly very interesting.


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