Are the royals of Norway the most fun royal family in the world? video

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway greet the audience from the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway at their joint 80th ...
JOHN OLAV NESVOLD/REUTERS

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway greet the audience from the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway at their joint 80th birthday party earlier this month.

If you're going to dedicate your life to duty, you might as well have fun while you're at it. That certainly seems to be the motto of the Norwegian Royal family, who last week celebrated King Harald and Queen Sonja's joint 80th birthday bash with the kind of rib-tickling bonhomie you would expect of a 21st birthday party, not a stuffy white-tie dinner.

Attended by a who's who of European Royals there were pranks, japes, smiles and a sense that, for all this was a public function, it was also just a family enjoying a right royal knees-up.

Should the Windsors be worried? Is the House of Glucksburg making a play for the crown of Most Fun Royal Family in the World? Maybe... except few of us actually know who any of them are.

The Norwegian royal line-up. (L-R) Leah Isadora Behn, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus, Maud Angelica ...
REUTERS

The Norwegian royal line-up. (L-R) Leah Isadora Behn, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus, Maud Angelica Behn, Queen Sonja, Emma Tallulah Behn, King Harald, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Crown Prince Haakon and Martha.

So read our guide, and find out who's who in the New Royal House of Fun...

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THE JOLLY KING

Queen Sonja and King Harlod at their joint 80th birthday party.
REUTERS

Queen Sonja and King Harlod at their joint 80th birthday party.

King Harald, 80

Norway's bumptious 80-year-old monarch combines our Queen's sense of duty with a touch of Prince Philip's humour.

In a recent interview discussing a visit to Antarctica, he cracked a joke about a research station there called Troll, saying it was named after his wife. Boom tish! But he can do serious too, recently giving a stirring speech in support of gay freedom and religious tolerance.

Happy birthday to you! Overview of the celebration dinner on May 9. From left around the table: Eliza Reid, King ...
HAAKON MOSVOLD LARSEN/REUTERS

Happy birthday to you! Overview of the celebration dinner on May 9. From left around the table: Eliza Reid, King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Sindre Finnes (husband of the prime minister), Queen Sonja, King Carl Gustaf av of Sweden, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa of Luxembourg, Iceland's President Gudni Johannesson, King Philippe of Belgium, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, King Harald, Grand Duke Henri av Luxembourg and Queen Maxima of Netherlands.

Apart from being a much-liked monarch, Harald is an accomplished sailor, representing Norway in the Olympics three times. He also rowed at Oxford during his time studying history and economics at Balliol.

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And to mark his 80th birthday in private earlier this year, he took his whole family to South Africa - to go surfing.

 

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Queen Margrethe of Denmark arrive at the gala dinner. Later in the evening the Prince ...
NTB SCANPIX

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Queen Margrethe of Denmark arrive at the gala dinner. Later in the evening the Prince shaved his beard off before returning to the celebration of his parents' 80th birthday.

HIS DEVOTED QUEEN

Queen Sonja, 80

There was much sucking of teeth when Harald announced his intention to marry Sonja back in the Sixties. The trouble was that she was - gasp! - a commoner. But Harald was determined, and told his father, King Olav, he just wouldn't marry anyone if he couldn't have her - which would have effectively killed off the Royal family, as he was sole heir.

Crown Princess Mette Marit was a single mother and former waitress before marrying Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
REUTERS

Crown Princess Mette Marit was a single mother and former waitress before marrying Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

Next year they celebrate 50 years of marriage, and at 80, Sonja is as popular as Harald - attractive, cheerful, and always by his side.

Her many interests include music, art, nature and conservation, and she has trekked over much of Norway.

She also loves photography, and could recently be seen snapping away with an old-fashioned camera on the beach in South Africa as her grandchildren caught their first waves.

Norway's King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrate their 80th Birthday's with their fun-loving family.
NORWAY ROYAL COURT

Norway's King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrate their 80th Birthday's with their fun-loving family.

Her style is classic and chic, and she often looks 20 years younger.

The couple have two children: the Crown Prince (see below) and Princess Martha Louise.

THE PRANKSTER PRINCE

Crown Prince Haakon, 43, heir to the throne

Tall, dark and handsome, Norway's heir only needs to hop on a polo pony to rival our princes in the swoon stakes.

Though not, in fact, a horsey type, he has however beaten Prince Harry to become top Royal prankster, performing a gag it would be hard to imagine a British Royal pulling off.

Midway through the gala dinner last week, he nipped off and shaved off his beard, returning completely baby-faced. No explanation was given, it was just classic Haakon bants.

When he's not working as a UN Goodwill Ambassador or patronising various arts and music organisations, he amuses himself by plunging into ice-cold Norwegian seas and paddle-boarding.

He's on course to become the grooviest King of modern times.

HIS SCANDALOUS WIFE

Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 43

The glamorous wife of the Crown Prince has won over her detractors after a rocky introduction to Royal life.

As a single mother and former waitress who once mixed in racy circles, Mette-Marit was not an obvious contender for future Queen of Norway. But since the marriage in 2001, all suggestions she was not right for the job have melted away, thanks to her championing of humanitarian projects and tireless work on Royal engagements.

Her style is committedly haute couture: favourite designers include Valentino, Prada and Oscar de la Renta. Not that she's just a clothes horse - to defy those who point to her poor academic record, she has recently returned to studying, gaining a master's degree in executive management.

One wonders what could have prompted the future Queen to choose that subject?

THE ILLEGITIMATE SURFER DUDE

Mr Marius Borg Hoiby, 20, the Crown Princess's first son, by another father

Princess Mette-Marit's heart-throb son by another man has never had a Royal title, but is still a close member of the family.

Earlier this year he disappointed millions of teenagers by announcing he had chosen not to perform Royal duties, moving instead to Los Angeles, where he fits in a business around his surfing.

Other interests include Land Rovers, skateboarding, labradoodles, skiing and quite possibly Linn Helena Nilsen, an equally blonde and beautiful heiress he is thought to be dating.

THE CHEEKY FACE-PULLER

Prince Sverre Magnus, 11, third in line to the throne

Every Royal family has one - the bored child who can't resist pulling a face during a balcony line-up.

We have Grace Van Cutsem, the goddaughter of the Duke of Cambridge who stole the show during his first kiss at the Royal wedding by blocking her ears and gurning. The Norwegians have Sverre, the King's oldest grandson, and only son of Crown Prince Haakon, who amused everyone last week by pulling The Dab. That, in case you're wondering, is a dance move popular with sports stars involving a Seventies-style raising of the arms and tilting of the head.  

He also made silly faces to amuse his all-female young cousins, and is clearly in the early stages of being a highly charismatic, fun-loving Royal. Just like the rest of them!

THE PRINCESS MARGARET FIGURE WHO COULD HAVE BEEN QUEEN

Her Highness Princess Astrid, 85, the King's sister

Under new succession laws, introduced in 1990, the eldest child of a Norwegian monarch succeeds the throne regardless of gender. But those rules didn't apply when King Harald was born, which is why his two elder sisters, Princess Agnhild and Princess Astrid, were passed over.

Agnhild died in 2012, having lived for 40 years in semi-exile in Brazil after marrying a commoner - though that didn't stop her reportedly criticising her nephew and niece for their choice of spouses.

Princess Astrid also married a commoner, the late Johan Ferner, with whom she has five children. After studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford for two years, she threw herself into Royal life, representing the King and serving as patron of various charities, especially those for women.

She looked like the Snow Queen at the birthday bash, in a tiara and white fur coat, with an expensive tan Princess Margaret would have been proud of.

 - The Telegraph, London

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