All about the life and achievements of Harald V of Norway

The early days of Harald V

Harald V is the current king of Norway. He was born on February 21, 1937, in Skaugum, Asker, Norway. He is the son of Olav V, who was king of Norway from 1957 to 1991, and Märtha Louise, a princess of Sweden.

Harald V was educated at the Royal Palace School in Oslo and later studied history, sociology, and economics at Oxford University in England. He served in the Norwegian navy and completed officer training at the Norwegian Naval Academy.

Olav V, Harald V’s father, became king of Norway in 1957. When Olav V died in 1991, Harald V succeeded him as king. He was crowned on June 23, 1991, in a ceremony at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

Nidaros – the cathedral where Harald V was crowned.

The royal ties

The family line is associated with the House of Glücksburg, an old and prestigious royal family line dating back to 1825, with relations to House Oldenburg that dates back to the 15th century. Harald V and his family thus have ties with many other royal families in Europe.

From the House of Glücksburg there are traces to the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Greece, and the Kingdom of Iceland. Thus Norway has a lot of ties to other royal families and nations around the world.

And due to their relationship with the House of Oldenburg, there are also traces back to Charlex XIII of Sweden, Nicholas II of Russia, as well as numerous dukes and counts throughout the  centuries.

The family of Harald V

Harald V has been married to Queen Sonja, formerly known as Sonja Haraldsen, since 1968. They have two children, Crown Prince Haakon (born 1973), and Princess Märtha Louise (born 1971).

Before marrying Queen Sonja, the two were together for nine years in a somewhat secret relationship. During the 50’s and 60’s there was still some pressure on Harald V to marry a royal person with blue blood. Harald V is known to have told his father King Olav V, that he would remain unmarried for the rest of his life, if he was not able to marry Queen Sonja.

Harald V of Norway is famous for being a loving family member. He is quoted to have once said “The time we spend together is our most precious possession.”

Being the Crown Prince of Norway

Before ascending to the throne and becoming King of Norway, Harald V was the Crown Prince for a number of years, experiencing the Second World War, applying himself at various educational institutions, and even participating in several Olympic Games.

During the Second World War, his father, who was the Crown Prince at the time, stayed in Norway with his father, King Olav, while Harald V and much of his family fled the country due to worries about the German invasion.

Eventually he ended up living in Washington D.C, where he saw Franklin D. Roosevelt in person, as well as visited a group of Norwegian servicemen who were training in the US.

Harald V returned in late 1945, where he was the first member of his family to attend public school, before further studying at the University of Oslo, attending the Cavalry Officer’s Candidate School at Trandum, enrolling in the Norwegian Military Academy, and also studying history, economics and politics in Oxford at Balliol College.

He took part in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, where he sailed the Fram III, in the 5.5 meter yacht class race.  Later on he also participated in the Olympics of 1968 in Mexico City, and the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Perhaps this is something he inherited from his own father, who won a gold medal for sailing in the Olympics himself.

The reign of Harald V

As king, Harald V has focused on promoting international understanding and cooperation, particularly through his work as a patron of various cultural and humanitarian organizations. He has also been a strong advocate for the environment and has supported efforts to preserve natural habitats and promote sustainable development.

As King of Norway, Harald V has had many public duties to perform over the years. From meeting with countless heads of state, to meeting with the Norwegian Council of State, the Prime Minister of Norway, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for regular discussions about national issues.

From his coronation in 1991, and up until 2012, he was also considered the formal head of the Church of Norway. An amendment to the Norwegian constitution in 2012 changed his role, and in 2018 the status of being holy was also removed from the constitution.

Another notable achievement is his battle and success with beating bladder cancer in 2003 and 2004. For some time he had been unable to fulfill the duties as King because of his illness, but later made a recovery and succeeded in going back to his royal assignments.