Monday, 19 August 2013

On this date: The Crown Princess is forty

Today is the fortieth birthday of the Crown Princess. She was born as Mette Marit Høiby (later changed to Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby) at St Joseph’s Hospital in Kristiansand on 19 August 1973. The official celebrations of the anniversary took part yesterday.
Ever since her 28th birthday in 2001, six days before she married the Crown Prince, the Crown Princess, who is rather religious, has celebrated her birthday with a church service for family and friends in the Palace Chapel. This year this was moved outdoors and took place in the Queen’s Park yesterday.
Like in previous years the former Bishop of Oslo, Gunnar Stålsett, who married the crown princely couple in 2001, officiated at the service. It is traditionally the Bishop of Oslo who serves as the royal family’s chaplain, but the Crown Princess, who belongs to the liberal part of the Church of Norway, obviously has much less in common with the current Bishop of Oslo, the staunchly conservative Ole Christian Kvarme, than with his liberal predecessor.


  1. Thank you for this information. Would you happen to know when and why her names were changed?

    Your observations regarding Crown Princess Mette-Marit's religious views are interesting, as "conservative" is not normally a word we Americans stereotypically associate with Norway. ;) Is this alignment grounded on theological issues or on political or moral questions?

    1. I believe, but am not sure, that it happened when she was in her teens. As for the surname I think it is a rather logical result of her being brought up by her mother, who reverted to the name Tjessem, after her parents divorced. As for the first name I have no idea why the hyphen was added, which seems particularly odd as family and friends call her just Mette.

      I would think primarily the latter. Ole Christian Kvarme & co might have fitted very well into the American Republican party. And there is surely conservatism here too; indeed the opinion polls suggest that the likeliest outcome of the general election on 9 September is a government of the Conservative Party and the far right wing so-called "Progress Party". (Even Sweden, which I believe is Americans' prototype of a socialist country, has been ruled by a conservative government for seven years now).

    2. Thanks again; you've inspired me to read a couple of articles on the Norwegian elections.

    3. I used to write more about politics on this blog earlier, but as people did not seem too interested I have not made it a priority lately. But the election might be quite interesting. Until very recently it seemed settled that the right wing would win the election, which is a bit odd - Norway has a strong, stable economy, the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and most things in this society work very well (obviously there is always something which could be improved), yet people are not satisfied and intend to vote for the opposition. Probably this is quite simply a result of many being tired of the government after eight years. But in the last week or two Labour has gained in the opinion polls, while the Conservatives have lost support. This might partly be a result of some of the Conservatives' claims being firmly rejected by scientist, the Conservative leader's reluctance to answer questions about her own policy and the Conservatives' rather desperate and in many eyes, I believe, undignified attempt at blaming the current government for the terrorist attack aimed at the Labour party two years ago. There are still seventeen days to go, so the outcome might perhaps be another than expected, but what we know for sure is that a government based on the Conservatives and the far right wing so-called "Progress Party" will lead to many irreversible changes to Norwegian society.

    4. Interesting indeed, and I appreciate your perspective as a Norwegian.

      When you speak of the Conservative Party's claims being rejected by scientists, am I correct that you are referring to the proposal to abolish the quota of paternity leave that this English-language article ( makes mention of? I thought it interesting that the proposal appears to have received little support - whether that is attributable to apathy or to the desire to preserve gains in gender equality.

      Unfortunately, the English-language press does not seem to have noted any comments on the Breivik attack, but it is disappointing to hear that it is being politicized and blamed on the party he targeted.

    5. That is indeed one example, but there are others as well, including the Conservatives' old claim that fortune tax strangles companies. Scientists looked into this, carrying out thousands of case studies (70,000, I believe) and were thereby able to reject the claim conclusively. Yet the Conservative leader chose to respond that she did not believe in their findings.


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