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The Norwegian Royal Family is the family of the Norwegian monarch. In Norway there is a distinction between the Royal House (kongehuset) and the Royal Family (kongelige familie). The Royal House includes only the monarch and their spouse, the heir apparent and their spouse, and the heir apparent's eldest child. The Royal Family includes all of the sovereign's children and their spouses, grandchildren, and sibllings.

The Royal House of Norway belongs to the House of Glücksburg. The members of the Norwegian Royal House are Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja and Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra.

The members of the Royal Family are in addition the Crown Prince and Crown Princess’s other children, His Highness Prince Sverre Magnus and Mr Marius Borg Høiby; Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise, Miss Maud Angelica Behn, Miss Leah Isadora Behn, Miss Emma Tallulah Behn and Her Highness Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner.

History[edit | edit source]

The Norwegian monarchy, and its royal family, traces its history and origin back to the unification and founding of Norway, as well as Norway's first king, Harald I of the Fairhair dynasty. With the introduction of the Norwegian Law of Succession in 1163 AD, the legal framework established that only one monarch and one royal family was, through succession, allowed to rule.[1]

Norway, Sweden and Denmark had joint monarchs during the Kalmar Union in the late Middle Ages, and Norway remained in union with Denmark after Sweden seceded in 1523. Following the reformation a joint Danish-Norwegian state was established 1536-37, which was ruled from Copenhagen by the House of Oldenburg until Norway was ceded to Sweden at the Treaty of Kiel in 1814 following Denmark-Norway's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. Norway was briefly independent with its own king in 1814, but forced into a new union with Sweden under the rule of the House of Bernadotte.

Upon becoming independent in 1905, Norway decided through a referendum to remain as a monarchy, with its first monarch being the Danish-born King Haakon VII, whose family consisted of the British Princess Maud and their son Olav. It is King Haakon's descendants that today make up the current royal family of Norway.

Through marriages and historical alliances, the Norwegian royal family is closely related to the Swedish and Danish royal families as well as being more distantly related to royal families of Greece and the United Kingdom.[2]

The current king Harald V descends from all of the four kings belonging to the House of Bernadotte (1818-1905) that preceded the House of Glücksburg on the throne and is the first Norwegian monarch to be a descendant of all previous Norwegian monarchs since 1818.

Members[edit | edit source]

Since 1991, King of Norway is Harald V. Members of the Royal Family (with names of the members of the Royal House in bold letters) are:

Royal coat of arms[edit | edit source]

The coat of arms of Norway is one of the oldest in Europe and serves both as the coat of arms of the nation and of the Royal House. This is in keeping with its origin as the coat of arms of the kings of Norway during the Middle Ages.[3]

Håkon the Old (1217–1263) used a shield with a lion. The earliest preserved reference to the colour of the arms is the King's Saga written down in 1220.[3]

In 1280 King Eirik Magnusson added the crown and silver axe to the lion.[3] The axe is the martyr axe of St. Olav, the weapon used to kill him in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030.

The specific rendering of the Norwegian arms has changed through the years, following changing heraldic fashions. In the late Middle Ages, the axe handle gradually grew longer and came to resemble a halberd. The handle was usually curved in order to fit the shape of shield preferred at the time, and also to match the shape of coins. The halberd was officially discarded and the shorter axe reintroduced by royal decree in 1844, when an authorized rendering was instituted for the first time. In 1905 the official design for royal and government arms was again changed, this time reverting to the medieval pattern, with a triangular shield and a more upright lion.[3]

The coat of arms of the royal house as well as the Royal Standard uses the lion design from 1905. The earliest preserved depiction of the Royal Standard is on the seal of Duchess Ingebjørg from 1318.[4] The rendering used as the official coat of arms of Norway is slightly different and was last approved by the king 20 May 1992.[5]

When used as the royal coat of arms the shield features the insignias of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav around it and is framed by a royal ermine robe, surmounted by the crown of Norway.

The royal coat of arms is not used frequently. Instead, the king's monogram is extensively used, for instance in military insignia and on coins.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Rikssamling. The Royal Court
  2. Slektstre. The Royal Court
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 [ttps:// A web page featuring the history of the coat of arms of Norway]
  4. An article from the Norwegian National Archives depicting the seal of Duchess Ingebjørg
  5. [h Web page on rules for the use of the coat of arms]

External links[edit | edit source]

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