King Olav V of Norway

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Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Death of King Olav V of Norway, who died on this day in 1991! The only child of Prince Carl of Denmark and Princess Maud of Britain, the then Prince Alexander of Denmark became the Heir to the Norwegian Throne when his father was elected King of Norway in 1905, taking the regnal name of King Haakon VII and Prince Alexander became Crown Prince Olav. The first Heir to grow up in Norway since the 14th century, Crown Prince Olav studied at the Norwegian Military Academy until 1924, before studying jurisprudence and economics at Balliol College, Oxford. An accomplished athlete, the Crown Prince jumped from the Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo and won a gold medal in sailing at the 1928 Summer Olympics, all while maintaining a career in the Norwegian Armed Forces alongside his Official Duties. In 1929, Crown Prince Olav married Princess Martha of Sweden, and the couple had three children: King Harald V, Princess Astrid, and Princess Ragnhild, remaining happily married until her death in 1954. During the Second World War and the Nazi Occupation of Norway, the Crown Prince was well respected by other exiled Allied leaders and was appointed the Norwegian Chief of Defence in 1944, leading the Norwegian disarmament of the German occupying forces after their return to Norway. Following King Haakon’s death in 1957, he succeeded as the second King of an Independent Norway and was immensely popular for his down-to-earth style. King Olav was nicknamed Folkekongen “The People’s King”, and was later voted the ‘Norwegian of the Century’, after his death in 1991, at the age of 87.

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