Sunday, December 11, 2011

Haakon - Crown Prince of Norway

Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway (born on 20 July 1973 in Oslo, full name Haakon Magnus) is the heir apparent to the throne of Norway. On birth he was named Prince Haakon Magnus but it was stressed in the announcement that he would go by the name Haakon. He became Crown Prince Haakon when his father ascended to the crown as Harald V in 1991. Upon becoming king, he will be known as Haakon VIII of Norway.

Family and heritage
The godparents of Haakon the Crown Prince of Norway are King Olav V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, Prince Carl Bernadotte, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Princess Anne, The Princess Royal. As a descendant of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Haakon is also in line to the throne of each of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms. He is a third cousin to Charles, Prince of Wales, present heir to the thrones of the Commonwealth Realms.

Haakon has one sibling, Princess Märtha Louise (born 1971). In 1990, the Norwegian constitution was altered, granting absolute primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This was not, however, done retroactively (as, for example, Sweden had done in 1980), meaning that Haakon continues to take precedence over his older sister.

Education and military life
Haakon served in the Royal Norwegian Navy undertaking his first-level officer's education at the Norwegian Naval Academy, followed by a year aboard missile torpedo boats and other vessels. He then went abroad, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Haakon later attended lectures at the University of Oslo and took the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' civil servant introductory course in 2001. He completed his education in 2003 at the London School of Economics, where he was awarded an MSc in development studies, specialising in international trade and Africa.

Haakon married commoner and single mother Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby on 25 August 2001, at Oslo Cathedral, who upon her marriage became Crown Princess. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was the best man. When the engagement between Crown Prince Haakon and Høiby was announced, many Norwegians felt that the Crown Prince’s choice of wife was inappropriate.This was primarily about her being a single mother, but information concerning her involvement in the Rave scene in Oslo, which included a significant drug-subculture, also added to the controversy. In addition, the father of her child was convicted of drug-related offences. In a heartfelt press conference before the wedding the Crown Princess explained about her past, saying among other things that her youthful rebelliousness might have been stronger than most young people. Although some still find her inappropriate as a future leader of the country, the issue of Mette-Marit's past has largely been laid to rest in Norwegian public discourse.

Personal interests
The Crown Prince was involved in several sports and seemed to take a particular liking to windsurfing. However, he has not engaged in serious competitions. Haakon is known as a big music fan. When he was younger, he attended music festivals all over Europe, including the Roskilde Festival in Denmark and the Quart Festival in Kristiansand, Norway.

He has also been part of Olympics ceremonies. In 1994, the Crown Prince and his father played roles during the opening ceremony in Lillehammer. While the King declared open the Games, the Crown Prince lit the cauldron, paying tribute to his father and grandfather having served as Olympians. He attended the opening ceremony in Vancouver.

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