Princess Märtha Louise, oldest child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, was born on 22 September 1971, nearly two years before her brother, Crown Prince Haakon. Since she came of age the Princess - known for her interests in culture and sports - has represented the Royal Family on various occasions. After completing her education in physiotherapy, equestrian training is currently her main occupation.
The Princess was baptized in the Royal Chapel just under a month after her birth. She was named after her grandmother, Crown Princess Märtha, wife of King Olav V, and her great-great-grandmother, Queen Louise, mother of King Haakon VII and daughter of Carl XV of Sweden.
The Norwegian Royal Family has close ties to the Danish, Swedish and British royal families. King Haakon VII was the second son of King Frederik VIII of Denmark. His wife, Queen Maud, mother of King Olav, was the daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of England.
King Olav´s wife, Märtha, was the second daughter of Swedish Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg. Princess Märtha Louise´s mother, Queen Sonja, comes from an Oslo family and was married to Crown Prince Harald in 1968.
HER BROTHER INHERITS THE THRONE
Although she is two years older than her brother, it is Crown Prince Haakon who will inherit the throne. According to the Constitution, Norway has a linear succession and the right of succession was previously also agnatic (i.e. the oldest legitimate "man born of man" inherited the throne).
The Constitution has now been changed so that women can also accede to the throne, but as an interim arrangement it was decided that the male line should have precedence for those children born before 1990. In practice, this means that Princess Märtha Louise would only accede to the throne if her brother were to die and at that time did not have any children or grandchildren.
ON THE BALCONY ON 17th MAY
Princess Märtha Louise was introduced to her future duties as a member of the Royal Family at an early stage. She had only just learned to walk when she appeared for the first time on the balcony of the Palace in Oslo to wave to the children´s procession on 17th May, Norway´s Constitution Day.
The Royal Family´s meeting with gaily-dressed, cheering crowds on this special day is one of the country´s strongest traditions. Apart from this special annual event, the Princess and her brother were protected from too much public attention during their childhood.
The Norwegian Royal Family has traditionally brought up their children as far as possible in the same way as other young Norwegians. Many people believe this is one of the reasons why the Royal Family is so popular in Norway.
The Princess attended Smestad school in Oslo, and she was accompanied by her parents on her first day of school in 1978. She completed her upper secondary education at Kristelig Gymnasium in Oslo in 1990, with an emphasis on languages.
That same autumn the Princess, who is an avid equestrian, moved to England to train at Waterstock House Training Centre and to study literature at the University of Oxford. She later trained at Arena UK to perfect her skills as a show jumper.
In autumn 1992 Princess Märtha Louise began attending Bjørknes Privatskole in Oslo. She subsequently pursued a physiotherapy education programme at Oslo University College. After finishing the programme, the Princess completed her practical training in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
In December 1997 she was awarded her formal qualification as a physiotherapist. She then chose to concentrate on her career as a show jumper, and was a member of the national equestrian team for several years. During this time she also started her training in Rosen Method bodywork. In 2000 she qualified as a Rosen practitioner.
HRH PRINCESS MÄRTHA LOUISE
HRH Princess Märtha Louise have a fund in her name, HRH Princess Märtha Louise´s Fund, which is devoted to helping disabled Norwegian children.
Princess Märtha Louise became engaged to the author Mr Ari Behn from Moss on 13 December 2001. The couple were married in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 24 May 2002. Bishop Finn Wagle presided over the ceremony.
The Princess and her husband have three daughters, Miss Maud Angelica Behn, born at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo on 29 April 2003, Miss Leah Isadora Behn, born at the couple´s summer home, Bloksbjerg at Hankø, on 8 April 2005 and Miss Emma Tallulah Behn, born at their home in Lommedalen, 29. september 2008.
MUSIC, LITERATURE AND DANCE
Princess Märtha Louise also has many cultural interests. Music and literature are very close to her heart. She has sung in two choirs, and also performed as a soloist during a concert with her school choir, the KG singers. The concert was broadcast on national television.
The Princess has also played the flute in a quartet at the Bærum Music School, and for many years participated in a dance group at the Norwegian folk museum.
Since she came of age at 18, Princess Märtha Louise has performed a number of representational duties. In April 1992, as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she visited a number of refugee camps along the border areas between Liberia and the Ivory Coast. She is also very interested in the work of the humanitarian organizations and has been involved in telethons.
As her brother, Crown Prince Haakon, the Princess carried out certain representational duties when she was home on holiday.
Sport has always played an important role for the Norwegian Royal Family. Princess Märtha Louise´s grandfather, King Olav was an active sailor all his life. He was also an enthusiastic skier and competed in his younger years in the Holmenkollen ski jumping competition.
King Harald is also a first-class sailor, and Queen Sonja takes long cross-country ski trips and hikes in Norway´s mountains every year. She is also a certified ski instructor.
Riding is the Princess´s favourite sport. With her talents in show jumping she has done well in national and international competitions. Her two years of hard training in England helped her develop into a very competent rider.
She combined her internship in the Netherlands with training at a riding school on the outskirts of Maastricht and she continues to develop her show jumping skills. She retired from show jumping in 2000.