Harald V of Norway

Harald V is the King of Norway.

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Harald V (born 21 February 1937) is the King of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991. The son of the then-Crown Prince Olaf and of Princess Märtha of Sweden, Harald was born at the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, Akershus, Norway.

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, originally from Northern Germany, Harald became the first Norwegian-born prince since Olaf IV, who was born in 1370. Harald V is the formal head of the Church of Norway and the Norwegian Armed Forces. He has two children, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise. His grandchildren are Maud Angelica (2003), Leah Isadora (2005), Emma Tallulah (2008), Princess Ingrid Alexandra (2004), and Prince Sverre Magnus (2005).

Harald has two older sisters: Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs. Lorentzen (Ragnhild Alexandra, born Oslo, 9 June 1930 died 16 September 2012), who lived in Brazil, and Princess Astrid of Norway, Mrs. Ferner (Astrid Maud Ingeborg, born Oslo, 12 February 1932), who lives in Oslo.

Childhood and education

Crown Prince Harald

Prince Harald was born in Skaugum. The young prince was baptised in the Royal Chapel in the Royal Palace in Oslo on 31 March by Bishop Johan Lunde.

In 1940 the entire royal family had to flee their homes because of the German invasion. The dramatic journey northbound was marked by the Germans' repeated attempts to kill the King through bombing. It was deemed safer for the family to split up. The King and Crown Prince Olav would remain in Norway and the Crown Princess was to make her way to Sweden with the three children. The latter party reached Sweden on the night of 10 April, but although Crown Princess Märtha was Swedish-born, they encountered problems at the border station. According to Princess Astrid and others who were present, they were admitted only after the driver threatened to ram the border gate. Another account does not describe the escape so dramatically.[3] However when the King and Crown Prince inquired of Swedish foreign minister Christian Günther whether they could sleep one night in Sweden without being interned, they were denied.[3]

Prince Harald spent the following days in Sälen before relocating to Prince Carl Bernadotte's home in Frötuna on 16 April. On 26 April the group moved to Drottningholm in Stockholm. King Gustaf V has been accounted to have had an amicable relationship with his Norwegian guests, but the topic of the war in Norway was not to be raised. However, influential Swedish politicians including Minster of Justice Westman wanted the Crown Princess and Prince Harald to be sent back to Norway so he could be proclaimed King by the Germans.[3][4] After the King and Crown Prince had to leave Norway on 7 June they felt Sweden might not be the best place for the rest of the family. They started planning for them to be relocated to the USA. On 17 August the Crown Princess and her children left for the USA from Petsamo, Finland, aboard the ship American Legion.[3]

Harald and his mother and sisters lived in Washington, D.C., during the war,[5] while his father, Crown Prince Olav, and his grandfather, King Haakon, stayed in London with the Norwegian government-in-exile. One of the notable events he remembers from that time is standing behind Franklin D. Roosevelt when he was sworn in for his fourth term on the South Portico of the White House in 1945. Such childhood experiences are reflected in a trace of an American accent when he speaks English.[6] The Doris Kearns Goodwin book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Home Front in World War II contains a picture of the King (then Prince) playing with FDR's dog, Fala, on the North Lawn of the White House in 1944.

Prince Harald visited Norwegian servicemen on training in the United States. The prince also made visits outside America, travelling north to visit Norwegians training in Canada's "Little Norway" in Ontario, Canada. He attended The White Hall Country School from 1943. Prince Harald returned to Norway along with his family at the war's end in 1945.

In the autumn of 1945 he was enrolled in third grade of Smestad skole as the first royal to attend a public school. In 1955 he graduated from Oslo katedralskole and in the autumn of that year, Harald began studies at the University of Oslo. Later he attended the Cavalry Officers' Candidate School at Trandum, followed by enrollment at the Norwegian Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1959.

In 1960, Harald entered Balliol College, Oxford where he studied history, economics and politics.[6] He was a keen rower during his student days at Oxford. In 1960 he also made his first official journey abroad, visiting the United States in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Adult life

Crown Prince Harald attended Council of State for the first time on 27 September 1957 and took the oath to the Constitution of Norway on 21 February 1958. In the same year, he also served as regent in the King's absence for the first time.

Harald married a commoner, Sonja Haraldsen, at Oslo Domkirke in Oslo on 29 August 1968, a marriage that sparked much public controversy. The couple have two children, Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon, heir-apparent to the Norwegian throne.

The King heads the Council of State at Oslo Palace every Friday. He also has weekly meetings with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. He receives foreign envoys, and opens parliament every September. According to the Norwegian constitution, he appoints his government. Since 1884 parliamentarism has been in place in Norway, so the government has to have support from Parliament. The King appoints the leader of the parliamentary block with majority as prime minister. When the parliamentary situation is unclear the king relies on the advice of the president of Parliament and the sitting prime minister. He travels extensively throughout Norway and makes official state visits to other countries.

An avid sailor,[7] Harald represented Norway in the yachting events of Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964[8] and in Mexico City in 1968[6] and the Munich 1972. The Crown Prince carried the Norwegian flag at the opening parade of the 1964 Summer Olympics. In 1994, both the King and Crown Prince Haakon played roles during the opening ceremony of the Lillehammer Olympics. The King declared opened the games, while the Crown Prince lit the cauldron, paying tribute to both the King and his grandfather as Olympians. The King has also represented Norway at opening ceremonies of Olympic Games, among them Torino and Beijing. However, he wasn't present in Vancouver, the Crown Prince attended instead, with the King and Queen attending later in the games.

With his sailing crew he won World Championship bronze, silver and gold medals, in 1988, 1982 and 1987, respectively. In July 2005, the King and his crew aboard the royal sailboat Fram XV won the gold medal at the European Championships in Sweden. In the 2007 World Championship the King obtained a sixth place.[9]

Twice since the start of the twentyfirst century King Harald was unable to perform his monarchical duties due to ill-health: in December 2003 to mid-April 2004 due to urinary bladder cancer, and in April to early June 2005 due to aortic stenosis. Crown Prince Haakon served as the country's regent on both occasions.

Positions as King of Norway and honorary titles

As King of Norway

Royal Monogram

Royal Standard

The King is the nominal head of the Church of Norway.

He is a four-star general, an admiral, and formally the Supreme Commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces. The infantry battalion His Majesty the King's Guard are considered the King's and the Royal Family's bodyguards, they guard the Royal residences, including the Royal Palace, the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, and the Royal Mausoleum at Akershus Castle.

Honorary titles

In the British Army, the King was the final Colonel-in-Chief of the Green Howards. It remains to be seen whether there will continue to be an active association between the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) and the Norwegian Royal Family. He is also an honorary Colonel in the British Royal Marines.

The King is The Grand Master of the Order of St. Olav and the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. He is a Knight of the Garter, and he is also a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and a recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain as well as numerous other orders of chivalry.

The King is patron of the Anglo-Norse Society in London, together with Queen Elizabeth II, his second cousin. He is also patron of the Norwegian-American Foundation (Norge-Amerika Foreningen) and the Norse Federation (Nordmanns-Forbundet) in the United States.

He received the honorary degree Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford University in 2006 (as did his father, King Olav, in 1937, and his grandfather, King Haakon, in 1943).[10] The King has earlier been appointed an honorary doctor of law by the University of Strathclyde (1985) in Scotland and by Waseda University (2001) in Japan (2001). He is also an honorary fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.

King Harald V is Honorary President of the Offshore Racing Congress[11] and also the Co-President of Honour of the International Sailing Federation with the King Constantine II of Greece.[12]

Honours and medals

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

National honours and medals

  • Norway – Grand Master of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav – Grand Cross with collar of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav°
  • Norway – Grand Master of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit – Grand Cross°
  • Norway – St Olav's medal°
  • Norway – Defence Service Medal with Laurel Branch°
  • Norway – The Royal House Centenary Medal°
  • Norway – Haakon VIIs Commemorative Medal 1. October 1957°
  • Norway – Haakon VIIs Jubilee Medal 1905–1955°
  • Norway – Haakon VIIs Centenary Medal°
  • Norway – Olav Vs Commemorative Medal of 30. January 1991°
  • Norway – Olav Vs Jubilee Medal°
  • Norway – Olav Vs Centenary Medal°
  • Norway – Defence Service Medal with three stars°
  • Norway – Army National Service Medal with three stars°
  • Norway – Krigsdeltakerforbundet Badge of Honour°
  • Norway – Norwegian Red Cross Badge of Honour°
  • Norway – Norwegian Reserve Officers Federal Badge of Honour°
  • Norway – The Naval Society Medal of Merit in gold°
  • Norway – Norwegian Shooting Society Badge of Honour°
  • Norway – The Norwegian Confederation of Sports Centenary Medal°
  • Norway – Norwegian Shooting Society Commemorative Medal in gold°
  • Norway – Oslo Military Society Badge of Honour in Gold°

Foreign honours


  • Commonwealth realms – Royal Victorian Chain ° (1994)
  • Commonwealth realms – Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order °
  • United Kingdom – Stranger Knight of the Order of the Garter ° (2001)
  • United Kingdom – Honorary Freedom of Newcastle upon Tyne[13][14]

Nordic and Baltic countries

  • Iceland – Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Falcon°
  • Sweden – Knight with Collar of the Order of the Seraphim °[15]
  • Sweden – Gustaf Vs 90th Anniversary Medal°
  • Sweden – HM King Carl XVI Gustaf 50th Anniversary Medal
  • Denmark – Knight with Collar of the Order of the Elephant °
  • Denmark – Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog °
  • Finland – Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland° [16]
  • Estonia – Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana °
  • Latvia – Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars °
  • Lithuania – Grand Cross (1998) with Golden Chain (2011) of the Order of Vytautas the Great°[17]

Other countries

  • Austria – Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1964)° [18]
  • Belgium – Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold °[19]
  • Brazil – Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross °
  • Bulgaria – Cordon of the Order of Stara Planina °
  • Croatia – Grand Order of King Tomislav°
  • France – Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur°
  • Germany – Grand Cross 1st class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany °
  • Greece – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer°
  • Greece – The Royal House of Greece Centenary Medal°
  • Hungary – Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary°
  • IOC – The Golden Olympic order°
  • Italy – Knight Grand Cross (06/1965) with Collar (10/2001) of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic °[20]
  • Japan – Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum °
  • Jordan – Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali °
  • Yugoslavia – Order of the Yugoslav Great Star°
  • Luxembourg – Grand Cross of the Order of Adolph of Nassau°
  • Luxembourg – Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau°
  • Luxembourg – Medal to commemorate the wedding of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte°
  • Netherlands – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion °
  • Netherlands – Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown °
  • Netherlands – Commander of the Order of the Golden Ark °
  • Netherlands – Medal to commemorate the enthronement of Queen Beatrix°
  • Poland – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle °
  • Portugal – Grand Cross of the Military Order of Aviz° (05/11/1980)[21]
  • Portugal – Grand Collar of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique° (13/02/2004)[21]
  • Portugal – Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of St. James of the Sword° (26/05/2008)[21]
  • Romania – Sash Rank of the Order of the Star of Romania °
  • Slovakia : Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (2010)°[22]
  • Spain – 1,192nd Knight and Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1995°
  • Spain – Grand Cross Collar of the Order of Charles III°
  • South Africa – Grand Cross of the Order of Good Hope °
  • Thailand – Knight Grand Cordon (First Class) of the Order of Chula Chom Klao °

The mark ° shows honours mention on his official website page about decorations

Miscellanous honours

  • Ireland – Freedom of the City of Cork.
  • Spirit of Luther Award, awarded by Luther College of Decorah, IA
  • A 230 000 km² area in Antarctica is named Prince Harald Coast in his honour.
  • In 2007 King Harald was awarded the Holmenkollen medal with Simon Ammann, Frode Estil, Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset, and his wife Queen Sonja.


On 1 December 2003, King Harald was announced to be suffering from bladder cancer. A successful operation took place on 8 December at Norway's National Hospital, Rikshospitalet, in Oslo: his bladder was removed and a new one constructed. The King was then on sick leave from all official duties. Crown Prince Haakon was Norway's regent during King Harald's illness and convalescence. The King resumed his duties on 13 April 2004.

The King was once known to be a chain-smoker, but stopped smoking when he was diagnosed with cancer.

On 1 April 2005, Harald underwent successful heart surgery, an aortic valve replacement, correcting his aortic stenosis. It had been known for some time that he had this condition; however, until early 2005 it had only been of a moderate degree. During the three-hour operation at Rikshospitalet the doctors also performed a coronary bypass procedure on the King. On 10 April it was announced that the King had also undergone a pericardiocentesis to treat a complication of surgery, a pericardial effusion (an accumulation of fluid around the heart).

After the two operations in the spring of 2005, King Harald remained on sick leave for almost two months, Crown Prince Haakon again substituting as the country's regent. The King returned to work on 7 June, a date which carried particular significance in 2005, with Norway commemorating the centennial of the dissolution of the 1814–1905 union with Sweden. The King recuperated well enough to win the European Championships in ocean sailing just three months after his latest operation.

Following advice from his personal physician, King Harald finally decided in late 2005 to scale down his official duties, primarily effected by taking Wednesdays off and trying to keep weekends free as much as possible. However, he planned to continue attending weekend sports events of interest, and to lead Friday Cabinet meetings and carry out other constitutional duties.


  • The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters
  • The National Rifle Association of Norway
  • The Norwegian Association of UN Veterans
  • The Norwegian Reserve Officers’ Federation
  • Norges Militære Kameratforeningers Forbund ("The Norwegian Federation of Military Associations")
  • The Norse Federation
  • The Norway-America Association
  • Det Nasjonale Aldershjem for Sjømenn ("The Norwegian Seamen’s Retirement Home")
  • Norsk Anchorite Klubb ("The Norwegian Anchorite Club")
  • The Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers
  • The Norwegian Bible Society
  • The Norwegian Seamen’s Church – Church of Norway Abroad
  • The Offshore Northern Seas Foundation
  • The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences
  • Bergen International Festival
  • The Norwegian Cancer Society
  • Lions Clubs International – Norway
  • Nasjonalforeningen for folkehelsen ("The National Association for Public Health")
  • The Norwegian Olympic Committee and Confederation of Sports
  • The Norwegian Choir Association
  • The Norwegian Forestry Society
  • Friends of the Earth Norway/Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature
  • Ridderrennet ("The Knights’ Race", a Norwegian skiing event for the blind and mobility impaired)
  • The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue
  • The Sons of Norway Foundation
  • The American-Scandinavian Foundation
  • The Anglo-Norse Society
  • The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota[23]
  • Skogfjorden, the Norwegian language program of Concordia Language Villages, Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Oslo Militære Samfund[24]


Patrilineal descent

Patrilineal descent

Harald's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.

Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations – which means that if Harald V were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Oldenburg, as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.

House of Oldenburg

  1. Egilmar I of Lerigau, dates unknown
  2. Egilmar II of Lerigau, d. 1142
  3. Christian I of Oldenburg, d. 1167
  4. Moritz of Oldenburg, d. 1209
  5. Christian II of Oldenburg, d. 1233
  6. John I, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1275
  7. Christian III, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1285
  8. John II, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1314
  9. Conrad I, Count of Oldenburg, 1300–1347
  10. Christian V, Count of Oldenburg, 1340–1423
  11. Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg, 1398–1440
  12. Christian I of Denmark, 1426–1481
  13. Frederick I of Denmark, 1471–1533
  14. Christian III of Denmark, 1503–1559
  15. John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, 1545–1622
  16. Alexander, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, 1573–1627
  17. August Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1612–1675
  18. Frederick Louis, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1653–1728
  19. Peter August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1696–1775
  20. Prince Karl Anton August of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1727–1759
  21. Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1757–1816
  22. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, 1785–1831
  23. Christian IX of Denmark, 1818–1906
  24. Frederick VIII of Denmark, 1843–1912
  25. Haakon VII of Norway, 1872–1957
  26. Olav V of Norway, 1903–1991
  27. Harald V of Norway, b. 1937


  • Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise, born on 22 September 1971. She is married to Ari Behn, born on 30 September 1972, on 24 May 2002. They have 3 daughters:
    • Maud Angelica Behn, born 29 April 2003
    • Leah Isadora Behn, born 8 April 2005
    • Emma Tallulah Behn, born 29 September 2008
  • His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, born on 20 July 1973. He married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, born 19 August 1973, on 25 August 2001. She has a son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby, born 13 January 1997. The Crown Prince and Princess have 2 children:
    • Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra, born 21 January 2004, Hereditary Princess of Norway
    • His Highness Prince Sverre Magnus, born 3 December 2005


  1. Coronation discarded by constitutional amendment in 1908. Harald V swore the Royal Oath in the Storting on 21 January 1991 and received the benediction in the Nidaros Cathedral on 23 June 1991.
  2. VG – Kongen og kronprinsen på moskébesøk: – Kongen i Norge skal være kristen
  3. Hegge, Per Egil; Harald V, En biografi; N.W. Damm & Søn AS; 2006.
  4. "Kidnapper Foiled?". Time. 2 September 1940. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764542,00.html. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  5. "Non-Political Campaign". Time Magazine: p. 2. 9 September 1940. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764591-2,00.html. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  6. "Those Apprentice Kings and Queens Who May – One Day – Ascend a Throne," New York Times. 14 November 1971.
  7. "Victory by Design". Time Magazine: p. 1. 27 September 1963. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,875198,00.html. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  8. "HP-Time.com". Time Magazine: p. 2. 26 June 1964. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,898168-2,00.html. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  9. Sandefjords Blad on the King's performance in the World Championship (Norwegian) Retrieved 10 September 2007.
  10. Article in VG on the honorary doctorate (Norwegian)
  11. ORC web site. Committees. Retrieved November 2010.
  12. http://www.sailing.org/26220.php
  13. "King of Norway awarded Honorary Freedom of Newcastle". Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://www.norway.org.uk/norwayuk/news/newcastle.htm. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  14. Solholm, Rolleiv (14 November 2008). "King Harald receives honorary title". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (Norway Post). http://www.norwaypost.no/Culture/King-Harald-receives-honorary-title/menu-id-32.html. Retrieved 14 November 2008.[dead link]
  15. "Noblesse et Royautés", Guests to Victoria of Sweden's wedding, Photo
  16. Noblesse et Royautés (French), State visit of President of Finland in Norway, 2012, Photo
  17. Lithuanian Presidency, Lithuanian Orders searching form
  18. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (in German) (pdf). p. 170. http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/VHG/XXIV/AB/AB_10542/imfname_251156.pdf. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  19. Belga Pictures, State visit of Norway in Belgium, May 2003, Group photo, Harald V & Paola, Albert II & Sonja
  20. Italian Presidency website, decorations - Harald V : Grand Cross - Collar
  21. Portuguese presidential website, Orders search form
  22. Slovak republic website, State honours : 1st Class received in 2010 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)
  23. Royal House web page on the King's patronages Retrieved 7 November 2007
  24. "Oslo Militære Samfunds historie" (in Norwegian). Oslo Militære Samfund. http://www.oslomilsamfund.no/oms/oms_historie.html. Retrieved 5 February 2009.