The King has been pleased to award the rare honour that is the Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav to his outgoing Private Secretary, Berit Tversland, making her only the third non-royal Norwegian woman to receive this honour. An era comes to an end at the Norwegian royal court when Tversland now retires as the King’s Private Secretary, a position which was created by King Haakon VII in 1905 and now ceases to exist.
Berit Tversland has been employed by the royal court since 1977, first as governess to the then Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise and later as their secretary. In 2000 she succeeded Magne Hagen as Private Secretary, becoming the first woman to hold that position.
The position as Private Secretary is now abolished, and its office merges with the office of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess into a new entity which will be known as the Royal Secretariat. It will be led by Gry Mølleskog, with the title Chief of Staff. Mølleskog was also head of the office of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess from 2003 to 2006.
The first Norwegian woman to receive the Grand Cross of St Olav was Crown Princess Märtha, who was awarded it with its collar in 1942. The Grand Cross was subsequently given to the author and Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset and the actress Johanne Dybwad in 1947, to Princess Astrid (with collar) in 1956, to Crown Princess Sonja (with collar) in 1972, to Princess Ragnhild in 1982, to Princess Märtha Louise (with collar) in 1989 and to Crown Princess Mette-Marit in 2001.