Princess Märtha Louise of Norway

Princess Märtha Louise

The Princess at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, 8 June 2013
Born (1971-09-22) 22 September 1971
Rikshospitalet,[1] Oslo, Norway
Spouse Ari Behn (m. 2002; separated 2016)
Issue Maud Angelica Behn
Leah Isadora Behn
Emma Tallulah Behn
House Glücksburg
Father Harald V of Norway
Mother Sonja Haraldsen
Religion Church of Norway

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway (born 22 September 1971) is the only daughter and elder child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja. She is fourth in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne, after her brother Haakon, and his two children.

Early life

Princess Märtha Louise was born on 22 September 1971 in Rikshospitalet in Oslo, to the then Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja. At birth, she was not in line to the throne, because until 1990, only males could inherit the Norwegian throne (Salic law). She was christened a few months after her birth. Her godparents are King Olav V of Norway, Princess Margaretha of Sweden, Count Flemming of Rosenborg, Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Dagny Haraldsen, Haakon Haraldsen, Nils Jørgen Astrup and Ilmi Riddervold.

In 1973, Märtha Louise's younger brother was born Haakon Magnus. In 1990 the Norwegian constitution was altered, granting full cognatic primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This change only affects those born in 1990 or later. Females born between 1971 and 1990 (i.e. only Märtha Louise), were given succession rights, but their brothers would be before them in the line of succession, meaning that Prince Haakon still took precedence over Märtha Louise in the line of succession.

After the births of her brother's two children, Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus, Märtha Louise was relegated to fourth in line. The princess is also in the line of succession to the thrones of the sixteen Commonwealth realms, as a great-great-granddaughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

Education and career

Princess Märtha Louise is a certified physiotherapist, following education in Oslo and internship in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She has not practised her profession, however, choosing instead, from her fascination in traditional Norwegian folk tales as well as a love of music, to establish her own commercial entertainment business based on giving public and televised performances reciting folk tales and singing with well-known Norwegian choirs. In December 2003, she took part in Oslo Gospel Choir's Christmas concert with a solo performance, included on the companion CD album.

On 1 January 2002, after Princess Märtha Louise started her own business, in order to work with more freedom from her constitutional role as a princess, she began paying income tax, and the King, after consulting her, issued a royal edict which removed Princess Märtha Louise's style of Royal Highness (she is entitled to the style Highness when abroad). However, she retains her place in the line of succession, and, though her activities were reduced, she still carries out some public duties on behalf of the King.

After several postponements due to family births and her father's illness, during which the princess took on some representation duties, Princess Märtha Louise and her husband moved to New York City in October 2004. In 2004, her first book, a children's story about the first royal family of Norway was released – Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns. Accompanying the book is a CD version of the Princess reading her story aloud.

Princess Märtha Louise has studied physiotherapy, trained as a Rosen therapist and studied at an academy for holistic medicine. She claims she can communicate with animals and angels and started her own alternative therapy center named Astarte Education, after one of the oldest goddesses in the Middle East.[2][3] The princess drew criticism in Norway after the announcement that she would start Astarte Education. The newspaper Bergens Tidende, called for her to give up her royal titles.[4] Norwegian state director of Health Lars E. Hanssen, Norwegian alternative medicine advocate Dr. Bernt Rognlien, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), religious historian Asbjørn Dyrendal and University of Oslo theology professor Inge Lønning all expressed misgivings about the princess' plans.[5]

On 11 August 2007, Märtha Louise defended the school on NRK, the Norwegian public service television network.[6]

On 2 October 2007, Princess Märtha Louise became the first member of the Norwegian Royal Family to ever appear in a court of law as she wanted to halt sales of a book entitled Martha's angels.[7]

In 2007 the Princess was editor of the book "Prinsesse Märtha Louises eventyrlige verden, Eventyr fra jordens hjerte, Rodinia" containing 67 fairy tales from 50 countries.

Princess Märtha Louise's Fund

Princess Märtha Louise at a 2006 book signing in Minnesota, USA.

Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise's Fund was founded on 15 September 1972 and awards funds to projects carried out by non-governmental organisations in order to provide assistance to disabled children under the age of 16 in Norway. Princess Märtha Louise is the fund's chairperson. In 2005 the fund had assets of approximately NOK 13,285,000, and total annual allocations came to about NOK 500,000.[8]


On 18 January 2006 Princess Martha Louise (along with the rest of the Norwegian Royal Family) revised her patronage list, and will no longer be a royal patron of any cultural groups including the annual Bjørnson literary festival; her brother Crown Prince Haakon will take over that position. She will only retain six patronage roles, all of them health related. They include the country's foundations for the blind, deaf and those with epilepsy. "With these changes, we want to eliminate possible doubt about role conflicts for the princess." palace spokesman Astrid Versto told newspaper VG.



In 2014, Princess Märtha Louise faced some criticism due to her association with British clairvoyant, Lisa Williams. Williams was in Oslo on 14 September 2014 and gave a seminar for Soulspring, formerly known as the Angel School, which Princess Märtha Louise co-founded. Williams is known for her claims she can communicate with the deceased. The Soulspring website carried the following message: “We in Soulspring do not communicate with dead souls in our work. And here is where our work is separate from Lisa’s. To be completely honest, we don't see the point of contacting the dead. They passed over to the other side for a reason and should be allowed to stay there." No one representing the royal family commented.[10]

Marriage and family

On 24 May 2002 Princess Märtha Louise married in Trondheim author Ari Behn [11][12] The couple have three daughters: Maud Angelica (b. 2003), Leah Isadora (b. 2005), and Emma Tallulah (b. 2008). The family has lived in Islington, London and Lommedalen, Bærum.[13] They currently live in Lommedalen, Norway, since May 2014. [14]

Liv Mildrid Gjernes designed the Norwegian government's gift for the couple, two cupboards entitled "Ikons for the Hearts". In each cupboard there were seven exclusive pieces of handicraft, from different regions of Norway, produced by other Norwegian artisans.

On 5 August 2016, the Royal Court announced that Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn were separating and starting divorce proceedings but would have joint custody of their three daughters.[15] The divorce is the first in the modern history of the Norwegian Royal Family.

Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles

Royal monogram

In 2002, the King (with Princess Märtha Louise's assent) removed Princess Märtha Louise's style of Royal Highness and instead styled her as Highness. Her current title and name after marriage is Princess Märtha Louise. This was meant to loosen connections between the Royal Family and her business life. She doesn't have any form of address in Norway.


See also List of honours of the Norwegian Royal Family by country

She has been awarded:[16]





  1. Rootsweb Ancestry
  2. "Princess claims clairvoyant powers, aims to share them". Aftenposten. 24 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  3. Norway princess 'talks to angels', BBC News, 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007
  4. BT Leder (13 August 2007): Dropp prinsessetittelen, Märtha (Norwegian) Bergens Tidende, retrieved 27 July 2013
  5. Nina Berglund/NTB (25 July 2007). "Princess draws more flak". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  6. Princess chastises media, Rolleiv Solholm, The Norway Post, 12 August 2007.
  7. Princess Martha Louise takes the witness stand Aftenposten, 2 October 2007.
  8. Royal House web page on the Princess' fund Retrieved 6 November 2007
  9. Royal House web page on the Princess' patronages Retrieved 6 November 2007
  10. "Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  11. "'Iconic royal wedding gowns". Harpers Bazaar.
  12. born 1972 as Ari Mikael Bjørshol; he later took his grandmother's name.
  13. Arve Vassbotten (25 August 2012): Flytter til London om noen dager (Norwegian) Se og Hør, retrieved 27 July 2013
  14. "Royal Oops! Norway's Princess Martha Louise Forgets to Turn off Oven: 'I Am Glad the House Didn't Burn Down'". Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  15. "Prinsesse Märtha Louise og Ari Behn har bestemt seg for å gå fra hverandre [Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn decided to go apart]". The Royal Court. Retrieved 5 August 2016. (in Norwegian)
  16. Royal House web page on Princess Märtha's decorations (Norwegian) Retrieved 27 November 2011
  17. Iceland
  18. not a state decoration but a personal gift from the Queen
  19. Boletín Oficial del Estado (PDF) (132), 3 June 2006
  20. Pinterest
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Märtha Louise.
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Born: 22 September 1971
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway
Line of succession to the Norwegian throne
4th position
Succeeded by
Maud Behn
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