Thursday, November 4, 2010

Haakon and Mette on the road again

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are about to hit the road again.   The Norwegian couple were in New York City last week for a "whirlwind two-day tour to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and to promote the cultural ties" between the United States  and the Nordic countries.
[Inquiring minds want to know: the 99th anniversary?   Not the 100th, which will be celebrated next year?  I would have thought that a centenary celebration would mean a lot more than the 99th anniversary.  Perhaps the American-Scandinavian Foundation will have a huge blow out next year with even more regal guests.   Seriously, the gala dinner on October 29 was to launch the centenary celebrations for 2011.]
Back to the story.  The Crown and Crown Princess were in New York City for two days but you would not have known this if you read the local papers.  The couple were "trailed by a Norwegian TV crew doing a documentary" on Crown Princess Mette-Marit's transition from single mother to Crown Princess.  Next year, the couple will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.
It was announced today that the Crown Prince and Crown Princess will take a two month break from official duties.    They plan to take a journey of discovery with their two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 6, and 4-year-old, Prince Sverre Magnus.  Crown Princess Mette-Marit's 13-year-old son, Marius Borg Hoiby will also be accompanying them.
The Crown Princess told the Norwegian Broadcasting Company that they would take their children out of school from mid-November until late January.  Both parents thought "long and hard" about their decision,  and have stated that the three children will follow their schools' curriculum from afar.
"We want to be together as a family, and use time as a family.  We want to show our children a bit of the world, that there are many different cultures and many ways of living," said Crown Prince Haakon.
This is the slow season for royal duties in Norway, according to the Crown Prince.  He would not say where the family would travel.  The Crown Prince leaves for an official trip to Indonesia next week, and the private holiday is expected to begin shortly afterward.  Neither the Crown Prince nor Crown Princess have any official duties after November 10.
"We hope we can experience exciting things together." 
The departure of the heir to the throne and his wife will mean that King Harald V and Queen Sonja, both 73, "will be without back-up" during the next few months.  "We hope there won't be too much for the king and queen while we are away."

It is not unusual in the United States for parents to take their kids on holiday during the school year.  Kids still do their homework, and can communicate with their teachers by email, for example.   However, I think Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus are still too young for a great adventure.   Marius may enjoy the travel, but the two younger children's memories of this trip will begin fade not long after they return home.
The couple will celebrate their 10th anniversary in August 2011.  Perhaps this is an early anniversary present to each other.  
In the not-to-distant future, Haakon will succeed to the Norwegian throne.  I believe he will be the first of the three Scandinavian heirs to become the sovereign.   King Harald has had several health scares, including an operation for cancer.  This may be the last chance for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess to enjoy some real private time with their children before the Crown impedes into their lives. 
I am sure there will be rumors about the state of the couple's marriage.  One last chance at romance to save a faltering union ... or something like that.  Perhaps the Crown Princess enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and decided that she and Haakon, with their kids in tow, should have a chance to experience the same adventures.  They could start with the Love in Indonesia! 

Photo credit: Kongehuset

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