Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s 50th Birthday Interview 

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway gave an Interview to NRK in her Office at the Royal Palace of Oslo, to mark her 50th Birthday yesterday. The Crown Princess spoke about her life’s milestones, relationships with members of the Royal Family, and the reality of balancing a public role with her chronic illness. Here is an excerpt:

The Diamond Daisy Bandeau | Norwegian Amethyst Parure Vifte Tiara | Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara | The Jewels of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Crown Princess Mette-Marit is waiting wall to wall.

She does not know that the girls’ choir, which means something very special to her, has sneaked into the next room and is going to surprise her.

She thinks it should just be a birthday interview.

In this interview, she will talk about the price of royal life, the big milestones and about life as a chronically ill person.

In a white sofa surrounded by orange walls with hand-painted paintings, she welcomes NRK in her office on a warm summer day before the holiday in connection with the fact that she is now turning 50.

The Wergmann room, named after the Danish drawing teacher and theater painter who decorated it nearly 200 years ago.

– Isn’t it wonderful?

The Crown Princess looks around and throws out her arms. Speaks faster when she enthusiastically tells about him who was commissioned to decorate the Castle when he came to Norway with a traveling theater troupe in the 1830s.

– It is one of the most beautiful rooms in the Castle. It really is so nice here, I just have to say that.

The office at the Palace received today’s jubilee before she got married.

For almost half her life, for 22 years, she has been Norway’s crown princess.

On 25 August 2001, she entered Oslo Cathedral as 28-year-old Mette-Marit Tjessem-Høiby and became Mette-Marit of Norway when, in front of several hundred guests and 2 million TV viewers, she said yes to Crown Prince Haakon and received a kingdom on the purchase.

She laughs a little.

– I can look back on it and think: “Guri, think we dared!” I couldn’t know what I was getting myself into, she says.

– I knew it was a big choice, but I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. When Haakon and I met each other … If we had felt that we had a choice to choose someone else in our lives, I think we might not have chosen each other.

– But it just had to be like that, she adds.

She smiles.

It was in the summer of 1999, at the Quartfestivalen in her hometown of Kristiansand, that they really got to know each other.

She was the bright southern girl who made a strong impression on him. Who had a young son, which he later said showed him that she wasn’t afraid to take on commitment and responsibility.

It only made her more attractive, he thought.

He was Norway’s crown prince. The heir to the throne. The country’s next king. But also – or perhaps primarily – a peer who wanted to get to know the person she was.

– He saw me. He understood me. He was curious. And he held me, she has described.

When the new millennium started, Crown Prince Haakon presented his new girlfriend to the royal couple. She told them about a past of strong youth rebellion and of decisions she regretted.

The relationship received the royal couple’s full support. This is what we are going for, concluded King Harald.

When royalty from all over Europe, friends, family and guests from official Norway were gathered for the crown prince couple’s wedding dinner at the Castle, father-in-law King Harald took the floor.

– Dear Mette-Marit, he began.

– I have read that you are the ordinary girl who today becomes Norway’s crown princess. It does not match my impression – you are an unusual girl, said King Harald in a personal speech to the bride.

The king welcomed the new crown princess into the family – and to the deed she then became a part of.

Her eyes went blank as he continued.

– The queen and I have become very fond of you, and we have deep respect for what you stand for, said King Harald.

Now the crown princess can look back on 22 years in family and working together with the royal couple.

– What is it about what they do that you want to take forward?

– First of all, I am incredibly impressed by and have great respect for them, and for the work they put in for our country, she says.

– And of course I have a hope that my mother-in-law’s organizational talent will come to me, but it hasn’t after 22 years. But it is allowed to live in hope, I think.

The Crown Princess bursts out laughing.

The relationship with the parents-in-law and teachers in the work of life is close.

– I also think that one of the things that is so fascinating about the two of them is that they are so good at giving each other space, also in the roles of king and queen. They are exemplary. They are simply really good at giving each other the space they both should and should have, says Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

– What remains most strongly from your years as crown princess?

– Firstly, there are all the people I have met. I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, who I have really taken with me, she says.

– But I think perhaps the great experiences are mostly always about community – or a sense of community – which makes this role very valuable to me. The fact that together we manage to find some values in Norwegian society that we want to protect.

A valuable role. But the turn life took 22 years ago has also had its price.

– I don’t think there is any getting away from the fact that such a life costs. It’s a factor that you almost just have to factor in, and then not put too much emphasis on it. One cannot avoid that living in public in this way for a lifetime costs.

She stops a little.

– Being in the public eye, is that what it has cost?

– It is all-encompassing. It’s there all the time, and it’s not like that for everyone else with what is their work.

Since growing up in Kristiansand in the 70s, life has taken several unexpected and dramatic turns.

First, a strong youth rebellion. So single mother. Before she met him – the great love – and became Norway’s future queen.

She was the controversial crown princess who used her own life experience in her royal role.

On mental health, youth and literature. A guest house at Skaugum for those who struggle. And she went on trips around the world to contribute to the fight against HIV and AIDS.

She has worked for the UN and spoken at the UN General Assembly and has helped start an international network that works for poor women and girls.

But then life turned around again. At the age of 45, the crown princess was diagnosed with chronic pulmonary fibrosis .

– There is much that is painful and difficult and tough about it. At the same time, there is something very nice about it, because you meet yourself very much. You have to take yourself much more seriously. And then you have to slow down, which I have done a lot, she says.

A good opportunity to stop and live a little more slowly, she calls it. Find out what gives energy, and what takes energy.

– I can’t cheat anymore and just think: “This will work!” But it varies how affected I am by my illness, says Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

– For many people who live with a chronic illness that you don’t see very well, like me, it can be demanding, especially on the days when it’s quite heavy. Because when people don’t see it on you, it’s hard to understand. I have gained a new respect for that for other chronically ill people.

– Because it affects the whole life?

– Yes, of course it does. But at the same time, I really try to see the positive. The nice things I work on. I think that is important for one to have a good life. That you try not to dig into it, but rather see what I can achieve with the limitations I have.

Form and working capacity have varied.

We meet her for a good period of time.

– It looks good. Amazingly good, really! I feel in good shape and work a lot now. I am doing well and feel so lucky.

When the corona pandemic affected Norway and the world, it – despite its obvious negative sides – also gave her a respite.

An opportunity not to feel bad about what she didn’t get to do. Space to cultivate new hobbies in close surroundings.

She got a loom installed at home in Skaugum. Has attended a weaving course at Asker husflidslag and at Raulandsakademiet.

Woven a blanket as a Christmas present for mother-in-law Queen Sonja.

The Crown Princess smiles. Turns around on the sofa in the office at Slottet and looks at the latest work, which she has woven together with the teachers at Rauland.

The carpet has just come up on the orange wall. Pink, yellow, green, orange, blue and turquoise slide into each other.

The woven carpet is one of the first things you see when you enter the Crown Princess’s office.

She has previously described how the disease has brought with it new priorities. It became more important to just be Mette. Not having to define herself based on the fact that she is crown princess, but that she got to be Mette first.

– But the crown princess is unlike others in a lifelong job. What thoughts do you have when it comes to having a chronic illness with a lifelong job?

– At least I try not to think about that, she says and laughs.

– No way. I think I have become quite a lot better at thinking only here and now. Just see how each day is. And if it goes well, it goes well. You get better at living a bit like that in the present.

She is no longer so concerned with other people’s expectations of what and how a crown princess should be.

– Perhaps one of the gifts of getting a little older is that you are no longer so concerned with other people’s expectations. But more concerned with finding their own expectations for themselves. The close.

– What has been the most important milestone in your life?

– Oh, in my life? I think there are quite a few milestones that have meant something to me.

The Crown Princess thinks about it a bit. The thoughts go back to 1990, the year the then 16-year-old Mette-Marit needed to leave the near and travel far away.

– The fact that I traveled to Australia as a young exchange student when I was 16 years old has helped shape me quite a bit, I think.

The school year was spent at Wangaretta High School, northeast of Melbourne.

In the book “Hjemlandet og other tales”, of which the crown princess was one of the editors in 2019, she said that she traveled to Australia to get away.

That until then she had been “the world’s most conscientious young person, very kind, completely inside the box”.

“Then it just said stop. I couldn’t do more, in any case I couldn’t live up to the expectations others had of me. I’ve always known that I wasn’t good at expectations,” she said.

Now she highlights some of the things that broke with many people’s expectations of a queen subject, as one of the other major milestones in life.

– That I had Marius early and made that choice alone and was going to be a single mother. I think that has influenced me, she says.

– And of course when I met Haakon. It was also a very big change in my life, perhaps the biggest.

About Haakon: – Very handsome – and a kind father

After 22 years together as the crown prince couple, they will now celebrate their 50th birthdays together.

The marking already started in February, when the couple carried out the first of five anniversary trips around the country to highlight some of what they value most in Norway.

The big celebration is on the wedding day, 25 August, with a backyard party at the Castle with guests from all over the country.

Crown Prince Haakon turned 50 a month ago, on July 20, and Crown Princess Mette-Marit today.

She smiles.

– I think it’s cozy. We are the same age, me and Haakon. We have always followed each other, we were born a month apart. For me, it has always felt a little extra that we walk shoulder to shoulder.

– What words would you use about 50-year-old Crown Prince Haakon?

– Oooooh … Very beautiful. A kind dad. And a very responsible Crown Prince, who takes his job and his role very seriously.

– Do you work a lot?

– Yes he does. He works a lot, of course, but I’m used to it. But I think he is very responsible both towards me and his family as well.

Life partners and work partners.

Next to Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s office at the Palace, is the Crown Prince’s office.

– Are you a good team?

She thinks about it a bit.

– On good days, we are a very good team. We are. But we have really bad days, we too, like everyone else, says the Crown Princess and laughs.

The actual 50th birthday today is celebrated privately.

– It is a mixture of feeling enormous gratitude, and then it feels very strange that we have become so old.

She laughs a little at her description, but notes that yes, that’s how it is.

– Does the crown princess feel old?

– No, I don’t really do that. But there is something strange about it when I see my children so completely on their way out into life and about to discover the world. Then I think: “Hey, is that phase over for us? Shouldn’t we go out and experience the world in the same way?” It is, after all, a closed chapter.

– And then I think part of what happens when you turn 50 is that you realize that it will end one day, sort of. It is not eternal, this life. I think that hits you much harder when you reach this age than when you turned 40 or 30.

A new phase in the crown prince couple’s life will soon begin. Because it’s not the 50s they dread the most.

– When the children move out… I really dread that, says Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra finished high school before the summer holidays. This autumn she will work at Uranienborg School in Oslo as a school assistant and environmental worker, before next January she goes to Skjold camp in Indre Troms to serve twelve months of initial service.

Prince Sverre Magnus turns 18 in December and has only one year left in upper secondary school.

– It is not just that it is my children who are moving out of the house. So are all the friends. I feel like I’ve been running a youth hostel for many years now, says the Crown Princess, laughing.

– I will miss the chatter, talking to them, hearing how they are doing. Everyday life with lots of cuddles and chats. So, are we going to sit there alone, Haakon and I, together with the dog and just: “Yes, what are we going to do now?”

But first there is a birthday celebration.

The interview is coming to an end. NRK asks the Crown Princess to join her out of the office. Only now does she realize that it is more than a birthday interview.

Inside the ballroom, the nearly 50 girls have stood up, ready to surprise the celebrant.

The Norwegian girls’ choir is in many ways the crown princess’s choir. They were there when her favorite hymns were released on disc in 2008. Then she became the choir’s royal patron.

Now they want to surprise her with a song as a 50th birthday present.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit gets up from the white sofa in the office. Goes out and through the crown prince’s office. About to grab the handle of the door to the ballroom when she hears the girls’ voices.

– Oi, now I hear something!

Bright voices carry through the hall when the crown princess opens the tall door and peers in.

The castle’s large ballroom, where the crown princess herself danced the bridal waltz 22 years ago.

Now words about our country, about love, about coming home to those you love, fill the room.

So get home
Get on Get ahead
Get to where you are yourself

See the entire Interview with the Crown Princess here!



The Diamond Daisy Bandeau | Norwegian Amethyst Parure Vifte Tiara | Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara | The Jewels of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Diamond Daisy Bandeau

Norwegian Amethyst Parure

Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara

Vifte Tiara

Crown Princess Märtha’s Pearl Earrings

Queen Maud’s Drapers’ Company Brooch

Crown Princess Märtha’s Silver Wedding Earrings

Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s Pendant Earrings

Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s Diamond Flowers

Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s Diamond Bracelet

Queen Maud’s Aquamarine Brooch

Queen Sonja’s Diamond Filigree Brooch

Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s Ruby Heart Pendant

Diamond Leaf Brooch

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