By: Irene Davis
King Harald V
Long live the king! Long live King Harald V!
Obviously, this month’s article is about our King of
Norway, King Harald V.
King Harald V was born on February 21, 1937 to King
Olav V (at the time he was Crown Prince Olav) and
Princess Martha of Sweden near Oslo, Norway. Harald
was the first Norwegian-born prince since Olav IV in
1370. Because he is the great-grandson of King Edward
VII, of the United Kingdom, he is currently in the
61st place of succession to the British Throne! He is
also second cousins to Queen Elizabeth II. Since
Harald is the King of Norway, he is also head of the
Church of Norway. He also has two sisters.
Harald was baptized on March 31 by bishop Johan Lunde
in the Royal Chapel in the Royal Palace. Due to the
German invasion the entire royal family had to flee in
April 1940. The Germans repeatedly attempted to kill
the King through bombings. It was decided that the
family needed to split up to keep everyone safe. The
King and Crown Prince Olav would remain in Norway, and
the Crown Princess and the three children were to go
to Sweden. They reached Sweden on April 10th. It was
only after the driver threatened to ram the border
gates, that the border guards let them in Sweden.
Prince Harald first spent a few days in Salen, then
went to Prince Carl Bernadotte’s home in Frotuna, and
finally to Drottningholm in Stockholm. Some of the
Swedish politicians wanted the Crown Princess and
Prince Harald to be sent back to Norway. After the
King and Crown Prince had to leave Norway on June 7th,
they felt Sweden wasn’t the best place for the rest of
the family. They started planning for the family to
move to the U.S.A. The Crown Princess and the
children left Petsamo, Finland on August 17th.
They moved to Washington D.C. The King and Crown
Prince lived in London with the exiled government. In
1943, Prince Harald attended The White Hall Country
School. In 1945 he and his family returned to Norway
when the war ended.
In the fall of 1945, he enrolled as a third grader at
Smestad Skole. He was the first royal to attend
public school. He graduated from Oslo Katedralskole
in 1955. In the fall of 1955 he started at the
University of Oslo. He graduated from the Norwegian
Military Academy in 1959.
In 1968, he married Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner. The
marriage caused a lot of public controversy. They
have two children, Princess Martha Louise and His
Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon, heir to the
The king heads government meetings (Council of State)
at the Oslo Palace every Friday. He has weekly
meetings with the Prime Minister and the Foreign
Minister. He opens parliament every September. The
Norwegian Constitution states the King appoints his
government. Since 1884, Norway has had a “negative
parliamentary,” so the King exercises real political
power only after elections that result without a clear
majority to any party. He travels throughout Norway,
and makes official state visits to other countries.
He is the source of al honors in the kingdom, and is
the Grand Master of the Order of St. Olav.
King Harald is an avid sailor. He represented Norway
in the yachting events in the Olympic Games several
times during his Crown Prince years. He carried the
Norwegian flag at the opening parade of the 1964
Olympic Games in Tokyo. In 1982, 1987, and 1988 he
and his sailing crew won gold and silver medals in the
World Championship. In July 2005 the King and his
crew won the gold medal at the European Championships
Only twice has King Harald been in absence as ruler,
due to hospitalization and reconvalescence. First
from December 2003 to mid-April 2004 due to urinary
bladder cancer, and then from April to early June 2005
due to aortic stenosis. Crown Prince Haakon served as
the country’s regent on both occasions.
King Harald V is certainly a very interesting man.
This is only the basics about him. I learned a lot
about him, and will be looking more into the Royal
Family in the future.