Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway
|Crown Princess of Norway|
The Crown Princess at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, June 2013
|Born||Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby|
19 August 1973
Kristiansand, Vest-Agder, Norway
|Father||Sven O. Høiby|
A Norwegian commoner and single mother with a disadvantaged past, she was a controversial figure at the time of her engagement to Haakon in 2000. She became crown princess of Norway upon her marriage in 2001. In 2019 she attracted controversy for her years-long friendship with the American convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Background and educationEdit
Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was born in Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway, the daughter of Sven O. Høiby, who had been unemployed for some time but who had previously worked as a journalist for a local paper, and Marit Tjessem, a former bank clerk. Her parents divorced, and her father later married professional stripper Renate Barsgård. She has a sister and two older brothers, including Per Høiby, chief executive of the PR agency First House. Her stepbrother, Trond Berntsen – by her mother's 1994 marriage to Rolf Berntsen – died in the 2011 Norway attacks. Mette-Marit grew up in Kristiansand, spending many weekends and holidays in the nearby valley of Setesdal and on the coast, where she learned to sail. During her youth, she was active in the local Slettheia youth club, where she was also an activity leader. As a teenager, she played volleyball, qualifying as a referee and coach.
After starting at Oddernes upper secondary school in Kristiansand, Mette-Marit spent six months at Wangaratta High School located in North East Victoria in Australia as an exchange student with the exchange organisation, Youth For Understanding. Later, she attended Kristiansand katedralskole, where she passed her final examinations in 1994. She then spent several months working for the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce at Norway House in Cockspur Street, London. When her assignment in London ended, Mette-Marit relocated to Norway.
By her own admission, Mette-Marit experienced a rebellious phase before she met Crown Prince Haakon Magnus. As a part-time student, she took six years, longer than usual, to complete her high school education before going on to take preparatory college courses at Agder College. She then worked on and off as a waitress at the restaurant Cafè Engebret in Oslo.
In the late 1990s, Mette-Marit attended the Quart Festival, Norway's largest music festival, in her hometown of Kristiansand. She met Crown Prince Haakon at a garden party during the Quart Festival season. Years later, after becoming a single mother she met the prince again at another party related to the festival.
Since becoming crown princess, Mette-Marit has taken several university-level courses. In 2012, she obtained a master's degree in Executive Management. Most of her ancestors were cotters and small farmers.
Engagement and marriageEdit
When the engagement between Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit was announced, public and media reaction was negative, with many Norwegians being "horrified" and feeling that the Crown Prince's choice of partner was questionable; her lack of education, previous relationships with convicted felons and her socialization in a milieu "where drugs were readily available" were often cited by critics. At the time of their engagement, Mette-Marit was a single mother to a son named Marius Borg Høiby, born 13 January 1997 from her relationship with convicted felon Morten Borg. Her son caused a possible security risk in 2012 to the royal family by posting photos of the family's whereabouts on the Internet. Mette-Marit is reported to be a social media user and it has been rumoured that the royal family may not follow the instruction to refrain from revealing personal information on social media. Marius Borg Høiby withdrew from public life and stopped representing the royal family in 2017 when he moved to the United States to attend an unspecified college.
Her first official appearance as the intended bride of the Crown Prince was at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo City Hall on 10 December 2000, following the announcement of the couple's engagement on 1 December. At the press conference, Haakon said that he and Mette-Marit had been together for about one year. Haakon gave Mette-Marit the same engagement ring that his grandfather King Olav V and his father King Harald V had given to their fiancées.
The couple married on 25 August 2001 at the Oslo Cathedral. Upon her marriage, she acquired the title, Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Norway. They now live outside Oslo at Skaugum estate.
Public life and further educationEdit
During 2002 and 2003, the Crown Princess undertook development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, apparently without graduating. She was also accepted as an intern at NORAD, the Norwegian government's development organization. Mette-Marit attended lectures at the faculties of arts and social sciences at the University of Oslo, but did not graduate.
In October 2018 she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which will limit her official programmes. Mette-Marit, who has dealt with "health challenges on a regular basis" (such as pneumonia, several instances of norovirus, low blood pressure, along with some falls, concussions, a neck injury and a herniated disc) will undergo treatment at Oslo University Hospital.
In 2012 she attracted controversy for assisting a Norwegian couple with ties to the royal family in procuring surrogacy services in India, despite the fact that surrogacy is banned in Norway; she was criticized by women's rights groups of participating in human trafficking that exploits women in developing countries. The next year, the practice was also banned in India as a form of human trafficking and harmful to women and children.
In 2019 she attracted controversy for her friendship with the American convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein; she met him several times between 2011 and 2013, after his conviction on charges of sex trafficking of minors in 2008 and release from prison. Her friendship with Epstein was revealed by Norwegian media in the context of the scandal involving Prince Andrew, Duke of York who in that year stepped down from official duties over his longstanding ties to Epstein.
Titles, styles and honoursEdit
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
|Reference style||Her Royal Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Royal Highness|
Since her marriage, Mette-Marit has been known as "Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Norway".
- Norway: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Saint Olav
- Norway: Dame of the Royal Family Decoration of King Harald V
- Norway: Recipient of the Medal of the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of King Olav V
- Norway: Recipient of the Royal House Centenary Medal
- Norway: Recipient of the King Harald V Silver Jubilee Medal
- Austria: Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash of the Order of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
- Brazil: Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross
- Bulgaria: Grand Cross of the Order of the Balkan Mountains
- Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant
- Estonia: Member 1st Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
- Estonia: Member 1st Class of the Order of the White Star
- Finland: Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose
- Germany: Grand Cross 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Iceland: Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- Japan: Paulownia Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great
- Luxembourg: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau
- Netherlands: Recipient of the King Willem-Alexander Inauguration Medal
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Infante Henry
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
- Sweden: Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star
- Deres kongelige lukkethet, Dagbladet
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