Harald V


July 5, 2022

Harald V (born 21 February 1937 in Skaugum) is the King of Norway, son of King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha. He succeeded his father on 17 January 1991 and was then the first Norwegian king born in Norway at 567 years (the previous one was Olav Håkonsson, who became king in 1380). The Norwegian royal family belongs to the North German princely house Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.



King Harald's parents were Olav V, King of Norway, and Crown Princess Märtha, originally a Swedish princess. His family, the house Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, is a line of the house Oldenburg, which came to the throne in both Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the middle of the 15th century. The king is an agnatic descendant of Christian III of Norway, who ruled between 1536 and 1559, and thus the present royal family sat on the Norwegian throne before Haakon VII was elected king in 1905.

First year of life

When Prince Harald was born on 21 February 1937 at Skaugum in Asker, this was the first Norwegian prince's birth in 567 years. Prince Harald spent his first three years of life at Skaugum. When Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, the royal family, the Storting and the government fled by train. At Elverum, the prince was divorced from his father, Crown Prince Olav, when he and his mother, Crown Princess Märtha, and his two older sisters, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid, were evacuated to Sweden. The King and Government of London decided that the Crown Prince's family should be further evacuated by ship to final security in the United States, where they lived for the rest of the war in Pooks Hill, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. Together with his grandfather, King Haakon VII, his mother and his sisters, Prince Harald experienced the triumphant return to Oslo on June 7, 1945.


When Prince Harald returned home after the war, he continued his schooling as an ordinary primary school student at Smestad School in Oslo. From the parents' side, probably a deliberate break with old traditions of royal private education, which must have felt unnatural in the time of solidarity reconstruction for the country with which everyone, including the royal family, identified. The prince continued his education at Oslo Cathedral School, where he graduated with a degree in red art (realartium) in 1955. The same year he was matriculated at the University of Oslo, but instead studied at the Befalsskolen for the cavalry at Trandum (1955-56), followed by studies at the War School (1957–59). During this period he took over as deputy commander at the Cavalry's recruit school at Trandum. After completing his compulsory service, he studied in the period 1960-62 at Balliol College at the University of Oxford, where he completed studies in social sciences, history and economics. Death of the Crown Princess Crown Princess Märtha died on April 5, 1954 after several years of illness and temporary absence from the family due to treatment and convalescence. The prince was in the middle of the most vulnerable youth, and only in recent years has King Harald told more openly about the loss and grief triggered by the loss of his mother.

Crown Prince

King Haakon VII died on September 21, 1957, and thus Prince Harald became Crown Prince. As Crown Prince, he now met in the Council of State, and already in 1958 served as regent in King Olav V's absence. As an adult, Crown Prince Harald marked himself as a door opener for Norwegian business and diplomacy in a number of international contexts, as well as a representative of the World Wilderness Fund (WWF).

Marriage and family life

In March 1968, it was announced that the king had given his consent to marriage between Crown Prince Harald and Sonja Haraldsen from Vinderen in Oslo. Prior to this, the couple had known each other for nine years. They married on August 29, 1968 in Oslo Cathedral.

Sporting interests

King Harald has distinguished himself in a number of national and international sailing competitions. While crowned prince, he represented Norway during the Olympic Games three times; in 1964, 1968 and 1972. His best Olympic result was