On 25 August 2001, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby in Oslo Cathedral. They had met in 1999 through mutual friends but the match was not without controversy. Mette-Marit already had a four-year-old son named Marius from a previous relationship and she had reportedly used drugs and was a heavy partier. Haakon and Mette-Marit lived together during their engagement, which led to disapproval from the Church of Norway and a record low approval rating for the monarchy.
Shortly before the wedding, Mette-Marit spoke out, “My youthful rebellion was much stronger than many others. That resulted in me living quite a wild life. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I condemn drugs… I hope that I can now avoid talking more about my past and that the press will respect this wish. I cannot make these choices again, even though I would wish I could.”1 The interview led to a higher approval rating.
On her wedding day, Mette-Marit wore a dress of white silk crepe with a two-metre train, and a six-metre veil crowned by an antique bandeau tiara, while her future husband wore a black army uniform. Breaking with tradition, Haakon waited for her by the door of the Cathedral and walked with her down the aisle. Her little son acted as a page boy. She carried a long garland of leaves, with purple and white flowers.
After bowing and curtsying to King Harald and Queen Sonja, the couple took their seats. The bishop of Oslo, Gunnar Stålsett, told them, “Those born to be heir to a throne know what fate is all about. Only love can turn a duty into a gift.” Just before six p.m., the couple were pronounced husband and wife, after a ceremony with jazz music and readings by Haakon’s sister Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Two 21-gun salutes celebrated the new husband and wife.
The crowd outside certainly did not disapprove of the union and a kiss was met with a cheer from the crowd. They returned to the palace in a Lincoln convertible where there would be a wedding banquet and ball. The newlyweds appeared on the palace balcony, together with her son Marius, whom she scooped into her arms.
Upon marriage, Mette-Marit became known as Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The couple has two children now, Princess Ingrid-Alexandra (b.2004) (who will succeed her father) and Prince Sverre Magnus (b.2005).
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