Harald V of Norway

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King Harald V
Image:King Harald V.jpg
Reign January 17 1991 – present
Predecessor Olav V
Heir Apparent Crown Prince Haakon
Spouse Sonja Haraldsen
Issue Princess Märtha Louise
Crown Prince Haakon
Royal House House of Oldenburg
Father Olav V of Norway
Mother Märtha of Sweden
Born February 21, 1937

Harald V, King of Norway, (born February 21, 1937), is the monarch of Norway, a position he assumed upon the death of his father on January 17, 1991. The son of the then Crown Prince Olav and of Princess Märtha of Sweden, Harald was born at the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, Asker, near Oslo.

Harald was the first Norwegian-born prince since the birth of Olav IV in 1370. As he is the great-grandson of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, he is also in the line of succession to the British throne (currently placed 60th). As King of Norway, Harald is the head of the Church of Norway.

King Harald has two sisters, Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen (born 1930), living in Brazil, and Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner (born 1932), living in Oslo.


[edit] Childhood and education

After the royal family fled the German invasion of 1940, Harald and his mother and sisters lived in Washington, DC during World War II (his father Olav and grandfather King Haakon residing in London with the exiled government). Prince Harald returned to Norway along with his family at the war's end in 1945.

In the autumn of 1955, 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 until 1962. 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.

[edit] Adult life

Styles of
King Harald V of Norway
Reference style His Majesty
(Norwegian: Hans Majestet)
Spoken style Your Majesty
(Deres Majestet)
Alternative style Sir

The Crown Prince of Norway serves as deputy of the King from the day he is 18 years of age. 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, in 1968, a marriage which sparked much public controversy. The couple have two children, Princess Märtha Louise and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon, heir to the Norwegian throne.

The King travels extensively throughout Norway and makes official state visits to other countries.

An avid sailor, Harald represented Norway in the yachting events in the Olympic Games several times during his Crown Prince years, and carried the Norwegian flag at the opening parade of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 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.

Twice during recent years King Harald has been in absence as ruler owing to hospitalization and reconvalescence: in December 2003 to mid-April 2004 due to urinary bladder cancer, and in April to early June of 2005 due to aortic stenosis (for details see "The King's health", below). Crown Prince Haakon served as the country's regent on both occasions.

[edit] Positions as King of Norway and honorary titles

[edit] As king of Norway

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

He is a Four-star General, an Admiral and 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 lifeguards, they guard the Royal residences, including the Royal Palace and the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, as well as the Royal Mausoleum at Akershus Castle.

[edit] Honorary titles

Norwegian Royal Family

In the British Army, the King was the final Colonel-in-Chief of The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales' Own Yorkshire Regiment). 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.

The King is a Knight of the Garter, and is The Grand Master of the Order of St. Olav. He is also a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and a recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain.

The King is patron of The Anglo-Norse Society in London, together with Queen Elizabeth II. He is also patron of the Norwegian-American Foundation (Norge-Amerika Foreningen) and the Norse Federation (Nordmannsforbundet) 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).<ref>Article in VG on the honorary doctorate (Norwegian)</ref> The King has earlier been apointed 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.

[edit] Other honours

A 230 000 km² area in Antarctica is named Prince Harald Coast in his honour.

As of 2006, he is 60th in the line of succession to the British Throne.

[edit] The King's health

On 1 December 2003, King Harald was announced to be suffering from cancer of the bladder. A successful operation took place on December 8 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 April 13, 2004.

Image:Harald of Norway.jpg
The King and Queen, greeted by Laura and George W. Bush at the White House during the March 2005 State Visit to the U.S. Upon returning to Norway, the King underwent heart surgery.

The King was once known to be a chain-smoker, but quit that habit entirely 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 celebrating 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.

[edit] Patronages

Image:Monogram of Harald V.jpg
Monogram of King Harald V
  • Den Norske Lutherske Mindekirke i Minneapolis
  • Det frivillige Skyttervesen
  • Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab
  • Det Nasjonale Aldershjem for Sjømenn
  • Det Norske Bibelselskap
  • Det norske Skogselskap
  • Festspillene i Bergen
  • FN-Veteranenes landsforbund
  • Kreftforeningen
  • Lions Clubs International - Norge
  • Nasjonalforeningen for folkehelsen
  • Nordmanns-Forbundet
  • Norge-Amerika Foreningen
  • Norges Idrettsforbund og Olympiske Komité
  • Norges Jeger- og Fiskerforbund
  • Norges Korforbund
  • Norges Militære Kameratforeningers Forbund
  • Norges Naturvernforbund
  • Norges Tekniske Vitenskapsakademi
  • Norsk Anchorite Klubb
  • Norske Reserveoffiserers Forbund
  • Sjømannskirken - Norsk kirke i utlandet
  • Skogfjorden Summer Camp, Minnesota
  • Sons of Norway Foundation
  • Stiftelsen Harmonien
  • Stiftelsen Offshore Northern Seas
  • The American-Scandinavian Foundation
  • The Anglo Norse-Society

[edit] In popular culture

Harald V is the source of the common Oxford University phrase, "The King of Norway", referring to any apparently random event which could not have been anticipated by even the most meticulous planning. In 2006, a visit - apparently unannounced - by Harald V to Balliol College disrupted a well organized student union election campaign using the college as a base on election day. This effectively locked the campaign into Balliol for over an hour. In decision analysis, such events are often referred to as "unknown unknowns".

[edit] External links

Preceded by:
Olav V
King of Norway
17 January 1991–present
Preceded by:
Amelia Mary Carnegie Etherington
Line of succession to the British throne Succeeded by:
HRH Crown Prince Haakon

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