Queen Ingrid: Backbone of the Danish Monarchy.

On 1 May 1920, a ten-year-old girl dressed all in white marches through the streets of her native Stockholm behind a coffin draped in a flag accompanied by her four siblings. All around her in the procession are the great and good from among the royalties of Europe. In the coffin were the mortal remains of the child’s mother, Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden (born Princess Margaret of Connaught, the elder child of Britain’s Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught {third son of Queen Victoria} and his wife Princess Louise of Prussia.) The child in question was ten-year-old Princess Ingrid of Sweden. She was the third child and only daughter of Crown Princess Margareta’s marriage to Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, the eldest child of King Gustav V of Sweden. The royal couple had met in Cairo, in early 1905, and it seems to have been something of a coup de foudre. Prince Gustav Adolf (as he then was) proposed to Princess Margaret at a dinner party given by the British Consul-General in Egypt, Lord Cromer, and they were married at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on 15 June 1905, in the presence of Britain’s King Edward VIII, who was pleased by his niece’s union to the Swedish prince, for it was indeed a happy love match. Interestingly, Margaret was not the only English princess to venture to northern Scandinavia that year, as her cousin Maud (a daughter of King Edward VIII) arrived in neighbouring Norway as Queen, being the spouse of Prince Charles of Denmark, who was elected as King of Norway following the recent dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden. He took the title of King Haakon VII.

Ingrid was born in the Royal Palace in central Stockholm on 28 March 1910. A twenty-eight gun salute rang out from the battery at Skeppsholmen to announce the arrival of a princess. She was christened on 10 May in the Royal Chapel. The Crown Prince couple had four other children-all boys: Gustav Adolf (b. 1906), Sigvard (b. 1907), Bertil (b. 1912) and Carl Johan (b. 1916). Being the only daughter, Ingrid and her mother-who unusually for the time breastfed her children-soon formed a close bond, as Margareta preferred to be closely involved in the upbringing of her children, rather than rely heavily on help from a nurse or nanny, as was the case among most European royalties. A visiting Spanish Princess, Eulalia wrote that the Crown Princess gave the Swedish court ‘just a touch of the elegance of the Court of St James’s [in London].’ And here lies the key to Ingrid’s personality: the English influence that was imbued in her from birth by her mother. Soon the young child was immersed in reading English-language nursery books such as ” Kate Greenway’s “Under the Window” or “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens” by Arthur Packham. Margareta was also a keen gardener and photographer. She indulged herself by taking some wonderful rare colour photographs (for this was after all 1912) of her English-style garden at the family’s summer home, Sofiero Palace, near Helsingborg. These later featured in two books which were published in Sweden and accompanied by illustrations and drawings by the English princess, who counted artists such as the English sculptor Clare Frewen Sheridan as a friend. Often by her side in that wonderful garden was young Ingrid, doubtless entranced by the tripod camera which her mother used to capture such clear images. Another English trait was the use of nicknames en famille. Ingrid became known as ‘Sessan’ or ‘San’, abbreviations of the Swedish word for princess, prinsessan. It goes without saying that English was also widely spoken at Sofiero, although Margareta had been able to speak fluent Swedish within two years of her arrival in Sweden. This fluency in English-without the drawback of a heavy foreign accent-would serve Ingrid well in her future role as Queen of Denmark, as the Scandinavian languages are not widely understood in an international context.

During Ingrid’s formative years, Margareta encouraged her children to participate in amateur dramatics. In one play, Ingrid was tasked with playing a princess and was quite insistent that she must have a tiara, ‘otherwise you are not a real princess.’ Ingrid’s brothers were also willing players in these productions, although they were more likely to dress up as sailors. However, all of the children liked nothing better than a game of cowboys and indians in the summer palace garden, with a white conical-shaped tent serving as a tepee. These images were caught for posterity by Margareta on her new cine camera. The camera also captured Ingrid being led on a horse and cart or feeding swans on the boating pond. She was also a bit of a tomboy, happy to indulge in a little football with her brothers or watch a game of curling with her mother and brothers in winter. Yet, Margareta also made sure Ingrid received an education. In old age, Ingrid would recall that ‘I had classes at the [Royal] Palace. My mother …thought [as the only girl] I should have [female] companions’ to study alongside her ‘as she did not think it was a good idea for children to be on their own.’ Some commentators have mentioned that the Princess may have been dyslexic. Like her mother, Ingrid showed an aptitude for art and would later enjoy photography. The family, on occasion, made visits to their grandfather at his home, Bagshot Park, in leafy Berkshire. This further imbued Ingrid with an understanding of English ways and gave her an understanding of her place in the British Royal Family. A particular focus of the day-whether it be at Sofiero, in Stockholm or at Bagshot Park-was afternoon tea. This wonderfully English feast usually consisted of tea, sandwiches, scones and cakes and was served around 4pm-5pm each afternoon.

Nonetheless, there was another side to Crown Princess Margareta which Ingrid must have observed. As a British princess, she always understood (for it had been drilled into her) that with privilege came duty. During World War I, Margareta set up a knitting guild to provide garments for the Red Cross. She also put her name to a scheme to encourage women to work on the land. Margareta was also interested in matters involving the welfare of mothers and their children and set up a charity to promote this. She was also Honorary President of the Association for the Blind in Sweden.

In 1918, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark paid a visit to Sofiero, which was not unusual as the links between the Danish and Swedish royal families were close, both through marriage and descent. At that time Frederik was a mere nineteen and Ingrid but a child of eight. This was also the year that King Gustav V celebrated his 60th birthday and there was a large gathering of the extended royal family, including Ingrid, at Tullgarn Palace. Indeed, images from that time make it clear that there were not many royal family events where Ingrid was not present. Of this period, Ingrid would note that ‘We were children who were happy. Everything was joyful and we were happy in a warm family atmosphere.’ Meanwhile, Ingrid was asked to be a flower girl at the wedding of her mother’s sister, Princess Patricia of Connaught, in 1919. Patsy married the a British naval officer, Captain Alexander Ramsay and relinquished her royal title, being known thereafter as Lady Patricia Ramsay.

In early 1920, 38-year-old Crown Prince Margareta was pregnant with her sixth child when she had endured a bout of measles which aggravated an ear. An operation then took place for the removal of diseased mastoid air cells. There seem to have been complications, as she died of sepsis (blood poisoning) on 1 May of that year. Ingrid’s father was devastated with grief (‘It was so unexpected’ Ingrid remembered) but gathered his children around him for comfort. Thereafter, he never spoke about their mother to them again, which must have been very difficult for all concerned. The joy had suddenly gone from all of their lives. Ingrid summed it up succinctly, ‘It’s a grief you never overcome. Never, never,’  adding ‘I stopped being a child.’ Crown Princess Margareta’s funeral took place in Stockholm’s Storkyrkan and she was buried in the Royal Cemetery, within the Hagaparken, Solna, with Ingrid looking on. Ingrid would later recall, ‘My mother was a lovely person. Very gifted, also artistic. Also a very practical person and full of energy. She achieved much in her very short life.’

The appearance of Lady Louise Mountbatten (born a Princess of Battenberg, although her father, Prince Louis renounced his German title during World War I and Anglicised the family name to Mountbatten) must have been something of a shock to Ingrid, who had become something of a surrogate mother figure to her young brothers, as Prince Sigvard recalled. Louise and Gustav Adolf met in London in 1923 when the Crown Prince came over for London ‘season’ with his two eldest children. They had previously met, in August 1914, when Louise and her mother Alice passed through Stockholm on their return journey to England from St Petersburg (where the duo had been on a visit to Alice’s sisters, Tsarina Alexandra and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia [Ella]) at the outbreak of World War I. The British press commented on the fact that Gustav seemed to be paying special attention to Louise as she and Gustav paid visits to the races and spent time at the home of Louise’s brother George, the Marquess of Milford Haven. Louise was apparently nervous and uncertain as to what she should do if the Crown Prince proposed, although her mother urged her to accept, observing that Gustav could offer her a good home and a ready-made family life in a pleasant country. Even after she accepted the proposal, her doubts lingered. At one stage, Louise told a Greek relation that she was too old (she was thirty-four) and too thin to be a bride. Although Prince Gustav Adolf and Prince Sigvard, being in England, were told in person that their father had decided to remarry, their younger siblings, including Ingrid, who had remained at home in Sweden, were given the news by their paternal grandmother, Queen Victoria of Sweden, to whom they were not particularly close. To say that they were surprised would be a gross underestimation. They were not alone, as so were the majority of the Swedish public who had never heard of Louise, despite the fact that she was a great-granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, as Louise’s maternal grandmother was the late Princess Alice of Great Britain and Ireland, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, the second daughter of the old Queen Empress. The bride-to-be was a thus a first cousin once removed of the late Crown Princess Margareta. Although somewhat set in her ways, Louise had been a nurse during World War I and was deemed a respectable bride for the royal widower due to her royal links and maturity. She also had a democratic outlook which would doubtless appeal to the Swedes. Ingrid is pictured with her father and brother Prince Bertil around this time in England’s “Sphere” magazine of November 1923 and titled “Royal Marriage at St James’s.” This is a reference to the wedding ceremony which took place on 3 November at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace in central London. After a honeymoon in Italy, Louise arrived with her husband by train into Stockholm on a wintry day, 11 December, the guns of Skeppsholmen providing a welcoming salute to Sweden’s new Crown Princess.

The Crown Prince and his new bride spent the first Christmas at Drottningholm Palace, on the outskirts of Stockholm, with Gustav’s children. King Gustav and Queen Victoria did their best to act as good hosts to their son, his new wife and their grandchildren. As in past times, a giant Christmas tree dominated the room where the children’s presents were arranged on small tables. Games of badminton were played in the ballroom. Otherwise, the newlyweds occupied the same apartments in the Royal Palace as those used by Ingrid’s mother and father during their marriage; there was a similar arrangement at Sofiero (which they still used in the summer). However, Louise and Gustav also refurbished and modernised many rooms at Ulriksdal Palace, during which they were able to put their own stamp on the place. The family made use of this residence in the spring and autumn. It was in many ways neutral ground, for it was not so identified with Margareta. Louise was described as ‘gifted and determined and wanted things her own way.’ She was not perceived as ‘motherly’ and certainly did not have the captivating beauty of Margareta. Ingrid’s youngest brother, Prince Carl Johan, described Louise in his memoirs as shy and a little edgy in manner. But the one who was ‘hesitant’ and had the hardest time receiving this new addition to her family was thirteen-year-old Ingrid who, despite being only ten years old when Margareta died, had become accustomed to taking on the role as her father’s dutiful and diligent mainstay. It may have helped that, although born in Germany, Louise had been raised in England and so was accustomed to English traditions. Her introduction into this close-knit family cannot have been easy and was not helped by the trauma of delivering a still-born child in 1925. Yet, by 1930, she was first lady of Sweden following the death of her mother-in-law, the decidedly pro-German Queen Consort, Victoria. Pictures of this period often show Ingrid accompanying her father and step mother at engagements. Tactfully, Ingrid remains somewhat in the background but has invariably been given a bouquet of flowers similar in size to that of her stepmother. Yet Ingrid was also independent, living life in Stockholm as a modern, active woman. She rode, skied and skated, and was an accomplished tennis player. She learned to drive in 1928. Ingrid was also something of a royal style icon, draped in ostrich plumes, rubies and silk lames when for gala dinners.

The late 1920’s and early 1930’s were a further time of royal Swedish marriages. Ingrid’s father’s cousin Astrid married Belgium’s Crown Prince Leopold in November 1926, while Astrid’s sister Märtha married Crown Prince Olav of Norway in March 1929. Ingrid was a bridesmaid at both of these weddings, travelling to Brussels and Oslo for the festivities. She had often been in the company of these sisters prior to their marriage and still often met up with them during their visits home to Sweden, usually at Fridhem, the country home of Astrid and Märtha’s parents, Danish-born Princess Ingeborg and her husband Prince Carl of Sweden, Duke of Västergötland. In 1932, Ingrid’s eldest brother, Prince Gustav Adolf (‘Edmund’), married Princess Sybilla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Sybilla’s father, Charles Edward, was the British-born son of Queen Victoria’s eighth child and youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Although raised in England until the age of fifteen, Charles eventually moved to Germany, where he subsequently inherited the Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1900. As the 1930’s progressed the Duke became increasingly admiring of and involved with Hitler’s Third Reich, rising to the rank of SS Obergruppenführer in 1936. He continued to maintain close links with the British Royal Family. His sister was Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, a sister-in-law of Britain’s Queen Mary. Interestingly, Ingrid was to serve as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Princess Alice’s daughter, Lady May Cambridge to Henry Abel-Smith in October 1931. Her future sister-in-law, Sybilla, was also a bridesmaid. Meanwhile, in 1934, Ingrid’s elder brother Sigvard was stripped of his royal rank when he married Erica Maria Patzek, the daughter of a German businessman. The same would apply when Ingrid’s younger brother Carl Johan married journalist Elin Wijkmark in 1946.

But what of Ingrid’s future? She was certainly ideally placed to make an excellent dynastic marriage. When the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales (David) and his brother Prince George visited Stockholm in 1932. Ingrid’s name was briefly linked romantically with David. In 1933, Ingrid, who was on a visit to her English family, was pictured at Wimbledon alongside David’s mother, Queen Mary. The latter would certainly have approved of such a marriage, given the close dynastic links between the British and Swedish royal families. Yet it was not to be: The future King Edward VIII, would fall into disgrace when he abdicated his throne, in December 1936, to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Talk of a royal romance was temporarily put on the back burner, when in late 1934, Ingrid undertook a five-month journey to the Middle East by sea and plane, in the company of her father, Crown Princess Louise and her younger brother Bertil, visiting archaeological sites (the Crown Prince was a keen archaeologist throughout his life) and examining priceless artefacts in Greece, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jerusalem (Palestine) and Jordan.

Shortly after Ingrid’s 25th birthday, it was announced, by the Swedish and Danish Royal Courts that she was to marry Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik. Ingrid and Frederik seem to have been involved romantically for around two years, although the press had not picked up on this. Frederik had travelled over to Stockholm for the announcement but eluded the waiting press by leaving his train beforehand at Södertälje, where Ingrid was waiting in her car to drive the Crown Prince to the Royal Palace. Frederik was very much a man of the sea. Unlike most incumbents to the Danish throne, he had joined the Danish navy, as opposed to taking a commission in the armed forces. He underwent an exacting four-year spell at the Naval Cadet School in Copenhagen’s Gernersgade, together with periods spent on board the cadet ships Heimdal and Valkyrien. At his parents’ insistence, he was treated the same as any other naval cadet. Frederik was outgoing and cheerful and at ease with himself and the man in the street. He smoked a pipe and had a deep love of music and tattoos! By the time of his marriage, he had risen to the rank of Captain. It has been said that after her marriage to Frederik, Ingrid-who could be strict with herself and others-softened somewhat under his influence. The wedding in Stockholm saw a gathering of the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian royal families with some Prussian ex-royals, such as Crown Princess Cecilie also present. In addition, many of Ingrid’s British relations attended including her mother’s sister, Lady Patricia Ramsay (‘Patsy’), her mother’s cousin, Princess Helena Victoria (‘Thora’) and her mother’s sister-in-law, Princess Arthur of Connaught. The latter was also Margareta’s first cousin once removed (and thus Ingrid’s second cousin), as she was the eldest daughter of the late Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife, the eldest daughter of King Edward VII (and niece of the Duke of Connaught). Stockholm was filled with joy and cheering crowds as Ingrid entered the Storkyrkan, on 24 May, on the arm of her father wearing a wedding veil of Irish lace which had belonged to her mother. Instead of a tiara, she wore a crown of English myrtle grown in Margareta’s garden at Sofiero. The ceremony was broadcast on Swedish radio.

Following the wedding, the plan had been that the newlyweds would travel south through Sweden by rail and then cross over to Copenhagen by sea in a Danish navy vessel. The Danish Royal Yacht, Dannebrog, had brought the Danish King and Queen and Crown Frederik to Stockholm for the wedding (the Danish suite being received with great fanfare and brought ashore in the ornate Vasaorden, the Swedish Royal Barge.) The Dannebrog was normally only used to transport the Danish Sovereign. It had certainly not, up until now, been put at the disposal of the Crown Prince. However, Ingrid thought it would be wonderful if she and her husband could travel to Denmark together aboard the Royal Yacht. Crown Prince Frederik was sceptical, feeling it unlikely that King Christian would grant such a request. However, such was Ingrid’s determination and charm that she won over her father-in-law, who graciously consented to permit this. A gun salute greeted the new bride as the Dannebrog arrived in Copenhagen. Even better, both King Christian and his wife, Queen Alexandrine, were waiting on the quayside to greet the new Crown Princess of Denmark as she landed in her adopted homeland and passed under a bridal arch festooned with flowers. After receiving a large bouquet, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were taken in an open carriage to the Amalienborg where they appeared on the balcony to the acclaim of the large crowd below. A banquet was held that evening at Christiansborg Palace. Meanwhile, the country’s bakers sold Ingrid cakes and Ingrid confectionery, and many citizens had put pictures of Ingrid on display in the windows as a salutation to their new Crown Princess.

During their summer honeymoon, the couple stayed in Rome for a period of time, and invariably returned to the city almost every autumn when they could move around the streets or eat in backstreet trattoria unrecognised and undisturbed. However, they were returning to a country that was suffering, like others in Europe, from the economic downturn. Ingrid (who quickly mastered Danish and took lessons in Danish history) was soon, as Crown Princess of Denmark, at the forefront of many royal engagements, such as the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King Christian X in 1937. It is fair to say that Ingrid helped improve relations between her husband and his ageing father, who could be irascible. Queen Margrethe remembers that, ‘My mother wasn’t afraid [of the King as many members of the family were], she was used to dealing with older, slightly stiff gentlemen – there were so many old gentlemen in the Swedish family. It didn’t occur to her that she should be afraid of him, and in turn, he actually adored her,’ Ingrid’s charitable patronages at this time focused on those concerned with children and youths. Ingrid was involved too with the Girl Scouts and attended a summer camp. A Lady-in-Waiting Sybille Bruun was appointed to assist her. Sybille’s father had been the Danish envoy to Sweden at the time of her marriage. Meanwhile, for relaxation, Ingrid and Frederik built a small hunting lodge by Bjørnsholm Bay, at Trend in Vesthimmerland municipality using funds donated in 1937 from a ‘folk gift’ as the Crown Prince loved to hunt.

Ingrid and Frederik often travelled outside of Denmark on official business. In 1937, they made an official visit to Paris. Thereafter, in 1939, they undertook a two-month tour of the United States, visiting San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and New York, where they attended the World Fair. Ingrid charmed President and Mrs Roosevelt, with whom she and her husband dined, which was fortuitous as one of the main objects of the tour was to foster closer relations with the United States government, as the possibility of war in Europe grew ever nearer. The rise of Hitler and his Third Reich had long cast a long shadow over the continent, particularly after his annexation of the Sudetenland in October 1938. En route home from the United States, Ingrid and Frederik stopped off briefly in London to see her eighty-nine year old grandfather, the Duke of Connaught. It was fortuitous that she did as soon international travel would soon become impossible.

When wore broke out in Europe, in the autumn of 1939, Denmark declared itself to be neutral. However, German forces (around 40,000 men) invaded in the early hours of 9 April 1940. Crown Princess Ingrid, heavily pregnant with her first child, was ‘furious’ and apparently let out a rare expletive to give vent to her feelings, as she lay in her bedroom at the Frederick VIII Palace of the Amalienborg, the Crown Princely couple’s residence in Copenhagen. Some of the fiercest fighting took place nearby in the Amaliegade and Bredgade. Many of the royal guards were injured as they bravely sought to hold off the intruders. In the end the King negotiated a cease fire, for he must have realised that otherwise many more of his guards would have been killed, for they were outnumbered. Officially, Germany claimed to be protecting Denmark from a British and French invasion. Danish-language leaflets were dropped from Luftwaffe planes to spread this propaganda to the masses. With the German military now firmly on the ascendant, a coalition government now chose to ‘cooperate’ with the occupying power to protect the country from the consequences of the war. Some would argue that what followed was more a process of ‘negotiation’ than cooperation for, whereas in other occupied countries an independent German administration was established, in Denmark it was still the Danish authorities who had the formal responsibility for governing. Nonetheless, German troops continued to maintain a highly visible presence and Danish citizens’ rights were restricted.

During these dark times of World War 2, Copenhageners became accustomed to Ingrid and Frederik taking walks through the capital with their newly-born daughter, Margrethe, who was born just a week after the German incursion, an event which was seen as a positive symbol of light in the darkness. Danish spirits were also lifted by the sight of Frederik’s father, King Christian X, taking morning rides, in military uniform, through the streets of Copenhagen, cheered on by crowds of well wishers. It is something that Ingrid encouraged him to keep doing. The Crown Prince and his wife also took to using bicycles whenever possible, again as an emblem of solidarity with the man-in-the-street. These were symbols of a determined defiance to the government policy of ‘cooperation’, which officially the King supported. Ingrid, meanwhile, joined the Danish Women’s Preparedness organisation. Of this war period, Ingrid would later tell her daughter, Margrethe, that she and Crown Prince Frederik felt ‘so ashamed.’ The Crown Princess was no fan of the Nazis and would recall that, a few years earlier, she had been required to dine with Hermann Göring, and thought him dreadful. Apparently, King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine (who was born and raised in northern Germany in the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) also felt aggrieved by the situation. Yet, no matter what their personal feelings were, the royal family all had to put on a polite public face for the sake of their countrymen and countrywomen. One telling image shows Ingrid and her husband at a animal show in the company of Prime Minister Vilhelm Buhl. The normally kind and outgoing Crown Prince looks decidedly ill-at ease, although Ingrid, who is seated next to Buhl, manages to look politely interested in the proceedings, as she holds on to a bouquet of flowers. Ingrid and her husband also visited areas where there had been bomb damage. In the autumn of 1942, the Danish Prime Minister gave his famous ‘anti-sabotage’ speech, urging the Danes to desist from acts of sabotage (which were on the increase). It is fair to say that his words would not have found favour with the Crown Prince and his wife. After a fall from his horse on 19 October 1942, King Christian X was more or less an invalid throughout the rest of his reign, so an increasing amount of the burden fell on Crown Prince Frederik (who acted as Regent for periods thereafter) and Ingrid. Interestingly, the Danes had now taken princess to their hearts. She was no longer referred to as ‘the Swedish Princess’ but as ‘our Crown Princess.’

It was not until 29 August 1943, when the Germans declared a ‘Military State of Emergency’, that the policy of cooperation between the Danish government and the Germans broke down. This development came about as a result of a change in public sentiment in Denmark which manifested itself in further sabotage activity (for instance the Danish navy sunk many of its own ships at Holmen rather than see them seized by the Germans; while civilian acts of sabotage were directed against companies that supplied or worked with the Germans). Civil unrest (including strikes and riots) was also on the increase in several major cities. Then, on the night of October 2, the occupying forces tried to round up Danish Jews. However, more than 7,000 Danish Jews were helped to escape by the Danish resistance to Sweden, although around 470 were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. It has recently emerged that, in all probability, King Christian gave money to assist with costs involved in the transportation of the Jews to safety, after an appeal was made to him by two nurses sent from a local hospital from where this evacuation effort was coordinated. Meanwhile, under what was effectively martial law, the King and his family were placed under house arrest at Sorgenfri Castle by the German authorities. The Danish parliament ceased to function and the government resigned rather than agree to a German ‘request’ to introduce the death penalty for saboteurs. Queen Margrethe feels that, ‘from that point on, I don’t think father and mother were ashamed of Denmark.’ Jon Bloch Skipper, royal historian and author, who wrote a biography of King Frederik IX, states that Ingrid and her husband were certainly aware of the activities of the Danish resistance at this time and, in all probability, met with some of them at the Amalienborg.

The Crown Princess and her husband had a second child, Benedikte in April 1944. Meanwhile, opposition to the German occupiers continued apace with further strikes in Copenhagen and other towns in Zealand, Lolland-Falster and South Jutland. Then, in September 1944, several thousand Danish police were sent to concentration camps by the increasingly embattled occupiers. In addition, Ingrid faced the same problem as other Danish women in relation to finding suitable clothes for her children to wear. She decided to make use of her wedding dress from which she made baby jackets with hoods for her daughters (a third daughter, Anne-Marie was born in August 1946).

On 5 May 1945, Denmark was officially free of German control. Citizens all over the country took down the black blinds that had been used to cover their windows during bombing raids and made bonfires of them in the streets. Two months later, Ingrid’s father and stepmother came over from Sweden for a stay at Fredensborg. The Swedish Crown Prince was delighted to see his daughter, son-in-law and his granddaughters Margaretha and Benedikte. However, both he and Ingrid were devastated by the death, in an air crash, of Prince Gustav Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten in January 1947. He was only forty years of age and left behind a widow (Sybilla) and five children, the youngest of whom, an only son Prince Carl Gustav, would one day ascend the throne of Sweden. The accident occurred on Danish soil, near Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport, following a stopover there. The prince was flying home to Sweden from a hunting holiday in the Netherlands with Prince Bernhard. The plane stalled almost immediately after take off and ploughed nose first to the ground. The six crew and sixteen passengers were all killed. A heavily-veiled Ingrid attended the funeral in Stockholm on 4 February. 100,000 were said to have lined the streets.

Just as Ingrid was recovering from the trauma of the her brother’s funeral, King Christian X died on 20 April. Ingrid was now Queen Consort of Denmark. Her husband, the new King, Frederik IX, was so proclaimed from the balcony at Christiansborg Palace and gave a brief speech: ‘The two of us will now take over and continue in the same spirit as the former royal couple.’ Then he gave Queen Ingrid a hearty kiss on the cheek. One cannot imagine King Christian and Queen Alexandrine behaving in such a spontaneous manner. It was perhaps apt that one of their first official guests, in 1948, was Danish-born King Haakon VII of Norway (‘Uncle Charles’). Like his nephew Frederik, Haakon had previously served as a naval officer in the Danish navy. Then, in 1952, the royal couple would host Ingrid’s father and his wife Louise on a State Visit to Denmark. Overseas State Visits also abounded, including one by Frederik and Ingrid to London in May 1951 and then to Vienna in 1952.

Although the heir to the throne was now Frederik’s younger brother, Hereditary Prince Knud, discussions were taking place to change the rules of succession. In Denmark, these changes were enacted via The Succession to the Throne Act of 27 March 1953 which introduced conditional female succession in Denmark as of 5 June. This meant that a female descendant of the current reigning sovereign could now inherit the throne, providing that there was no male heir, which, of course, in King Frederik IX’s case, there was not as all his children were daughters. Ingrid and Frederik’s eldest child, Margrethe, was now referred to as Crown Princess Margrethe. This changed occurred just as the role of Danish women were becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Some press sources noted that the (now) Prince Knud referred to his sister-in-law as ‘King Ingrid’ as it was she who really pulled the strings at the Amalienborg. Other commentators say Ingrid was a (or the) motivating force behind the change. However, it is highly unlikely that this change in the succession would have incurred without support from the average Dane in the street.

Queen Ingrid, meanwhile, helped her husband to transform the monarchy from a distant, aloof institution into an outward-looking, accessible institution. In particular, she was aware of the need to promote the monarchy in a fast-changing world, while also adapting it to suit new circumstances. Photographers (such as Britain’s Patrick Lichfield [the mother of whom married Prince Georg of Denmark]) were given access and invariably produced images of a loving family of three daughters watched over by a doting father and loving mother. Nevertheless, in these pictures, the steely side of Queen Ingrid also shines through. A former guard at the Palace once told the writer that while the princesses were relatively relaxed and informal, Ingrid was decidedly more formal. Nevertheless, the King was said to have the ability to make his wife relax; while she contributed greatly to Fredrik appearing more dignified and confident in his role as monarch. In effect, the duo complimented each other perfectly. The Royal Court also allowed the cameras into the palace to film at teatime. In doing this, Ingrid gives a nod to her English mother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, in a wonderful film sequence of her acting as ‘Mother’, in the traditional English way, pouring and distributing afternoon tea to her husband and daughters. Princess Benedikte recalled that the hour between 4pm and 5pm was almost sacrosanct and if, for any reason, the Queen was delayed for reasons of duty, the palace staff ensured that everything was made ready for her to take tea on her return home. Teatime also provided the family with a rare opportunity to indulge in some candid conversation, as no staff were present. Another occupation with English overtones was Ingrid’s love of gardening, particularly at Graasten Palace-her summer home until the end of her long life and of course at Fredensborg.

Queen Ingrid now expanded her official duties. She showed a great interest in matters relating to Greenland, following her visit with the King in the summer of 1952 aboard the Dannebrog. Ingrid was particularly concerned to learn that many of the Greenlanders were affected by tuberculosis. Thereafter, partly thanks to her interest, a new hospital was built and opened in 1954 in Nuuk (then Godthab) bearing her name (originally this dealt with pulmonary diseases but has now expanded into a general hospital). The King and Queen paid several visits together to Greenland (1952, 1960 and 1968) and the Faroe Islands (1959, 1963, 1969). Meanwhile, in Copenhagen there were several high-profile engagements concerned with European and international affairs: In May 1950, Ingrid attended a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen. In February 1953, the King and Queen were present at a meeting of the first Scandinavian Council held at Christiansborg, during which closer political ties in Europe were discussed. Ingrid then assisted her husband in hosting an important lunch at Fredensborg Palace for foreign ministers attending a NATO conference. There continued to be a plethora of incoming State Visits. A particularly poignant one, given the recent history of Denmark, was the visit by the President of West Germany, Gustav Heinemann and his wife Hilda, in 1970. One with a more family feel was an earlier visit by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1957. The Danish royal couple also made many more visits overseas. In 1960 they again visited the United States, followed in 1962 by a visit to Thailand. They travelled to Africa too, visiting Emperor Haile Selassie in Addis Ababa in 1970. There was also a visit to Iran, in 1971, in connection with the celebrations at Persepolis to commemorate 2500 years of the founding of the Persian Empire. Ingrid and her husband also paid a visit to the Vatican, in 1959, during which they were received in audience by Pope John XXIII.

On 21 July 1962, Ingrid attended the confirmation service of her nephew Crown Prince Carl Gustav at Borgholms Church on the island of Öland. She liked to visit her homeland and kept in close touch with her father and her late brother’s children, as well as his widow Sybilla. Forays continued also to England. In 1952, Ingrid took her three daughters on a visit to London, said by the press to be the children’s first overseas visit. She was also photographed, in 1957, with Queen Elizabeth II and her family watching a game of polo at Smith’s Lawn in Windsor. Ingrid’s closeness, not to mention loyalty, to her British relatives was emphasised by the fact that she was the sole foreign royal to attend the 1960 wedding of Princess Margaret to the photographer, Anthony (‘Tony’) Armstrong-Jones. Other European royalties stayed clear of this unequal marital union of a king’s daughter to a commoner.

Queen Louise of Sweden died on March 7, 1965 in Stockholm. Ingrid was present during the Swedish Queen’s final illness and kindly kept Louise’s brother, Lord Louis Mountbatten (who was on a trip to Australasia) appraised of the situation. A further development around this time was that Crown Princess Margaretha had met and fallen in love with a French aristocrat and diplomat Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, who at the time was on the staff of the French Embassy in London. The couple married at the Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen on 10 June 1967. Margrethe wore a diamond daisy brooch which was a nod to her English grandmother, Margareta, who had been known by the family nickname of ‘Daisy’. Interestingly, Margrethe was also already known en famille as ‘Daisy’.

On 3 January 1972, King Frederik, who was suffering from a bad attack of flu, had a heart attack. Fortunately his doctor happened to be at the Amalienborg at the time, so he was hospitalised immediately and seemed to improve after a few days, but then his condition deteriorated and he died on the evening of 14 January. Ingrid had visited him faithfully every day at the Kommunehospitalet. Aged only sixty-two, she was a relatively young, fit and healthy widow facing a future without her husband of thirty-six years. Queen Ingrid (as she continued to be known) remained at her home in the Amalienborg complex, but moved out of the main palace at Fredensborg into the Chancellery House, a long, low wing, which is connected to the main palace buildings via the adjoining stable block and royal chapel. She also continued to have the use of Graasten Palace in South Jutland, where she loved nothing better than to do her embroidery or work in the English-style garden she had helped to create ever since she and her husband had first taken over the palace as their summer residence in the 1930’s. Visits from her children and their families were particularly welcome and Ingrid soon started to travel overseas, attending events in Oslo, in August 1972, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late King Haakon VII (who had been born at Denmark’s Charlottenlund Palace in 1872). At home, she attended the opening of the Annual Meeting of the World Bank in Copenhagen in 1973. Queen Ingrid would serve many times as regent during her daughter’s absences abroad. Until then, this function was traditionally reserved for those in line to the throne.

The death of her father, King Gustav VI Adolf, on September 15, 1973, was hardly unexpected given his great age. She had been by his side when he died in Helsingborg Hospital and was pictured leaving afterwards with her nephew, the new King Carl XVI Gustav and her niece Princess Christina. She later walked immediately behind the new King during the funeral procession in Stockholm. This meant that in just over a year Ingrid had lost the two men who had meant the most to her. Yet, she still faced the future with gusto. This included giving the benefit of her experience, if required: When her nephew, the King of Sweden found a future queen in the delightful and talented Silvia Sommerlath (they had met during the summer Olympics in Munich in 1972), Ingrid welcomed Miss Sommerlath to Denmark for three days to discuss her future role as a Queen Consort of Sweden and all that this would entail. Ingrid even drove herself out to the airport at Kastrup in her Jaguar car to greet Silvia off her flight. Some of the press referred to these discussions as ‘Queen Lessons.’ Silvia would later speak of Ingrid’s ‘tremendous wisdom’ noting too that ‘I could always telephone her if I had a question.’ Furthermore, ‘She had a lot of warmth but also a certain distance. She was easy to talk to and awe-inspiring. You weren’t afraid of her, but you had a lot of respect for her.’ Ingrid attended the couple’s wedding in Stockholm in June 1976, seated between King Olav of Norway and her brother Prince Bertil. With his nephew now settled, Bertil now decided to marry his long-time love, a Welsh actress, Lilian Craig. Ingrid attended the wedding in Stockholm on 7 December. Unlike his two surviving brothers, he retained the title of His Royal Highness.

A source of worry during this period was the fate of her youngest daughter, Anne-Marie, who had married King Constantine of the Hellenes in 1964. Greece had always been a politically volatile country and the Greek royal family had been accustomed to spending long periods in exile in the first half of the 20th century. On 21 April 1967, a group of army colonels overthrew the caretaker government a month before scheduled elections in which Georgios Papandreou’s Centre Union was favoured to win. At one stage, tanks surrounded Constantine and Anne-Marie’s home at Tatoi, outside Athens. Following an unsuccessful attempt at a counter-coup, planned over many months by the King and officers loyal to the crown, Anne-Marie and her husband, accompanied by their children, as well as the dowager queen Frederika and Constantine’s sister Irene, had made a sudden dash by air to Rome, in December 1967, with barely any fuel left in the tank of their small plane. The family lived initially at the Greek Embassy, then in a villa on the outskirts of Rome. Ingrid had a chance to have a catch up with Anne-Marie when she arrived in Copenhagen, in January 1968, to attend the wedding, on 3 February, at Fredensborg’s Royal Chapel of her older sister Benedikte to the German Prince Richard Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. King Constantine did not attend this event (neither had he nor Anne-Marie been able to attend Crown Princess Margrethe’s nuptials the previous year, for it had been made clear [‘advised’] by the Danish government that Constantine should stay away. Queen Ingrid had responded to this ‘advice’ by placing pictures of the Greek King and Queen throughout the rooms of Fredensborg Palace where Margrethe’s wedding reception was held). Greece was declared a republic in 1973. Following the restoration of a democratic government in 1974, a referendum was held to decide the future of the Greek monarchy: 69% of Greek citizens were in favour of a republic; only 31% were in favour of the restoration of the monarchy. When the Greek royal family eventually relocated to England in 1974 and settled in a roomy home in Hampstead, Ingrid was able to make regular visits over to London, where she spent much of her time gardening. Queen Ingrid must have reflected back to a warm September day in 1964, when she and King Frederik had sailed into Piraeus, the port for Athens, on board the Dannebrog with Anne-Marie at their side, to be greeted by a flotilla of local ships hooting their horns accompanied by a twenty-one-gun salute to welcome their future queen consort.

In the meantime, Ingrid’s growing band of grandchildren were a source of pleasure. She was particularly close to Crown Prince Frederik, Margrethe and Henrik’s eldest son, who was born in 1968. She also saw a lot of his younger brother, Prince Joachim, who followed in 1969. Anne-Marie and Constantine had a very large family over an extended time scale. Their first-born (and Ingrid’s first grandchild) was a daughter Alexia, born in Corfu in July 1965. The royal couple then went on to have four more children, Pavlos (born in 1967), Nikolaos (1969), Theodora (1983) and Ingrid’s youngest grandchild, Prince Philippos, who was born in London in 1986. In 1973 Ingrid was pictured on a boating lake, during an excursion to Legoland in Jutland. with her daughter Benedikte’s two eldest children Gustav (born in 1969) and Alexandra (born in 1970). Benedikte would go on to have a third child, Nathalie, in 1975.

As the 1980’s dawned, Ingrid could not help but be concerned by the behaviour of her son-in-law, Prince Henrik. The latter had to establish a role for himself at the Danish Court as he was the first male consort in Denmark’s history. Not an easy matter when there are no established boundaries, no dedicated funds, initially, with which to run an office and you are also constantly criticised in the press for speaking indifferent Danish with a foreign accent! Henrik eventually stated, in public, that he wished to have his own dedicated civil list allowance, instead of relying on handouts from the Queen’s allowance. Danes were outraged with the ‘French prince’. Ingrid was concerned enough to send for a copy of an English newspaper which had carried a report on the situation, according to Nigel Dempster, a well-known gossip columnist of the time, based in London.

Ingrid appeared on the balcony alongside her daughter Margrethe to celebrate her 80th birthday in March 1990. The following year, she paid to a visit to Japan, accompanied by Queen Anne-Marie, where she was pictured admiring a collection of orchids in the company of the Japanese royal family. During the 1990s, Ingrid suffered from scoliosis and there was a gradual deterioration in her general health. In her final years, she sometimes made use of a walking frame to move around, and then often one that matched whatever she happened to wearing at the time – her sense of style was still very much intact. Ingrid never forgot her origins or stopped taking an interest in Sweden. Her daughters recalled, for instance, that she persisted in reading Svenska Dagbladet every morning throughout her life.

It was unusual for Ingrid to give public speeches and when she did it was with a written script which she followed to the letter, a no-nonsense pair of glasses all the better to read it with. But on the occasion of Margrethe II’s 25th anniversary as Queen of Denmark, in January 1997, she surprised everyone by making a rare exception at a banquet to celebrate this milestone. The closing words of the speech were: ‘And Daisy [Margrethe’s nickname], you have two wonderful sons, so I think I can now safely close my eyes, because they will do their best for Denmark.’ A realist, Ingrid knew in her heart that her days were numbered. Yet, she was able to travel over to London to attend the wedding of her eldest grandchild, Alexia, in July 1999, even attending the wedding ball in a cerise pink ensemble. For her 90th birthday, she was photographed in a family group at the Chancellery House with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her brother Carl Johan Bernadotte. On November 7, 2000, Ingrid died aged 90 (the same age at which her late father had died) at the Chancellery House, surrounded by her large family (three children and ten grand children), including her beloved Crown Prince Frederik, who arrived in the nick of time from a visit to Australia where he had been attending the Olympic Games.

Ingrid was laid to rest alongside her late husband, King Frederik IX at Roskilde Cathedral on 14 November, having made the final journey by train from Copenhagen. Highly revered, her funeral was attended by the King and Queen of Sweden, the Queen of the Netherlands, the King and Queen of Norway, the King of the Belgians (the younger son of the late Queen Astrid of the Belgians), Britain’s Prince Charles (representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II), the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg (the latter was the late Queen Astrid of the Belgian’s daughter) and Queen Sofia of Spain.

Robert Prentice is the author of the biography the Greek-born Princess Olga of Yugoslavia: Her Life and Times. Available as an e-book or hardback from Amazon UK, Amazon.com and Amazon Deutschland. Olga was a Princess of Greece and Denmark and was briefly engaged to the future King Frederik IX in 1922.

Princess Ragnhild of Norway: A Life of Contrasts.

Princess Ragnhild of Norway was born on 9 June 1930 at the Royal Palace in Oslo, where her parents, Crown Prince Olav and his Swedish-born wife, Crown Princess Märtha had decamped some three weeks before, as a fire had almost destroyed their family home at Skaugum, in the village of Asker, west of Oslo. Ragnhild was the first Norwegian Princess born on Norwegian soil in over six hundred years. In her autobiography (published in 1995), Princess Ragnhild relates how her Swedish mother was anxious that her first-born child should come into the world on the 25th anniversary of the dissolution of Norway’s union with Sweden (7 June 1930), so that target was missed by two days! However, despite being the eldest child of the Crown Prince, Ragnhild was not destined to become queen, as at that time there was no right of succession to the throne of Norway for females. Had she been born under the constitutional rules of today, the Princess would eventually have succeeded her father Olav as Queen of Norway.

When a mere two and a half weeks old, Ragnhild was baptized by Bishop Johan Lunde in the Royal Palace Chapel in Oslo. The infant was carried throughout much of the ceremony in the arms of her paternal grandmother, Queen Maud of Norway (a daughter of Britain’s King Edward VII). To commemorate the occasion, 1,400 Norwegians bearing the name of Ragnhild collected sufficient money to provide a baptismal gift of a cross which was embellished with five natural pearls from different geographical areas of Norway.

The Princess was raised at Skaugum until the age of ten, receiving a private education at home. Joining her in the nursery, in February 1932, was a younger sister, Astrid. In February 1937, Crown Princess Märtha gave birth to a son, Harald. Being a male, he was second-in-line to the throne of Norway from the moment of his birth and the succession was secured for the future. Like all children, the royal trio enjoyed visits from their paternal grandfather, the recently-widowed King Haakon, who liked nothing better than to motor out to Skaugum to play with his grandchildren or watch them bicycling (or in Harald’s case tricycling) through the grounds. Haakon also enjoyed lunching with the family and was invariably full of jokes. Interestingly, Ragnhild was also old enough to remember attending the circus with her English-born paternal grandmother Queen Maud, who died in November 1938 in her native England. The children’s maternal grandparents, Danish-born Princess Ingeborg of Sweden and her husband Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland, also relished entertaining their Norwegian grandchildren at their whitewashed Swedish summer home Fridhem, near Norrkoping. Fridhem was a children’s paradise, with a wonderful parkland to play in and a brick-built Wendy House filled with sturdy furniture and cooking utensils where the children could play ‘house.’ It was also at Fridhem that young Raghild spent time with her cousins who included the children of her mother’s younger sister Queen Astrid of the Belgians, Joséphine-Charlotte, Baudouin and Albert. Also often present were the much older Danish cousins, Georg and Flemming (the offspring of Crown Princess Märtha’s elder sister, Princess Margaretha, and her husband Prince Axel of Denmark).

Ragnhild and her siblings formed a close bond at Skaugum, which was fortunate as the Norwegian Royal family was soon to undergo a period of major change: A month after Nazi Germany flexed its muscles by occupying Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Crown Prince Olav and his wife commenced a ten-week, 15000-mile goodwill tour through thirty-four states of the United States, visiting many places with large Norwegian populations, particularly in the mid-west. They were invariably greeted by members of the fraternal Sons of Norway (Sønner av Norge) organisation. The royal duo returned in July with many gifts for their three children including native Indian outfits for the girls and a cowboy outfit for little Harald. However, as far as the future was concerned, the most important ‘gift’ was mentioned, at the beginning of the visit, during a stay with President Franklin D Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor at their private home, Springwood, close by the town of Hyde Park on the Hudson River. During a one-to-one meeting with the Crown Prince, the President made it clear to Olav that he would offer sanctuary to his three children in the event of any war in Europe reaching Norway. It would not be long before the Crown Prince would ask the President to make good on his promise for, on April 9, 1940, German forces invaded Norway. At Skaugum, the Crown Prince received news of the invasion in the early hours of the morning with deep concern. Almost immediately, the children were awakened from their slumbers, provided with a quick breakfast, and then bundled into a car alongside their parents, with Crown Prince Olav himself taking the wheel and driving at top speed to the Royal Palace in central Oslo.

In order to avoid capture by the occupying power, it was now decided that all the Royal Family, the Government and the Storting (Parliament) should leave Oslo immediately by a special train from Østbanen Station. Fru Ragni Østgaard, the Crown Princess’s Lady-in-Waiting, kept a diary and observed that it was only when the train arrived at Lillestrøm station, just as the nearby Kjeller aerodrome was being bombed, that the seriousness of the situation became apparent to the royal family, particularly where the children were concerned for they were growing anxious as wave after wave of enemy aircraft flew overhead. Although Astrid cried and appeared somewhat distraught, Ragnhild seemed to be a little less affected, asking Fru Østgaard if this was just a rehearsal.

By early evening, the royal group had reached Hamar, with accommodation and dinner hastily arranged at a manor house at the Sælid Estate. However, with the Germans still in hot pursuit, it was decided to travel eastwards to Elverum. At this juncture, the heart-breaking decision was made that while King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav should remain in Norway, the Crown Princess and her children should attempt to cross the border into Sweden, Märtha’s country of birth. Although the royal party had no passports, they managed to enter Sweden at a crossing near Trysil, just prior to 1am on the morning of 10 April. Later, the group found accommodation at the nearby Sälen Høyfjellshotell, a well-known hotel for winter sports enthusiasts. As it was a bright, sunny day, the children borrowed skis from the hotel and spent most of the day outdoors, doubtless recovering from the traumas of the previous day. A few days later, they were delighted to be joined, from Stockholm, by their grandmother, Princess Ingeborg. As the Swedish officials were keen for the Norwegian royals to relocate, as soon as possible, for fear of a German raid over the border to kidnap them, Princess Ingeborg arranged for them to stay with the Swedish King’s grandson, Count Carl Bernadotte of Wisborg, at his home at Rasbo, near Uppsala. The children thought it was exciting to sneak out of the hotel in the dead of night on yet another adventure. Indeed, so quick was the departure of the royal entourage that there had been insufficient time to pack food for the journey, so the royal party had to make do with pastries purchased en route.

A few weeks later Ragnhild and her siblings found themselves on the road again, when King Gustav of Sweden offered his niece the use of Ulriksdal Palace in Stockholm. However, neither King Haakon nor Crown Prince Olav were keen on Märtha and the children remaining there as neither particularly trusted King Gustav, who was thought to have pro-German leanings. Furthermore, this mistrust had been exacerbated by the Swedish King’s recent actions: When, on 11 April, King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav had been in dire danger from occupying forces and requested to cross into Sweden at the Lillo customs crossing, the Swedish Foreign Minister, given the uniqueness of the situation, had contacted King Gustav for his input. Back came the reply, which was imparted to his brother sovereign, ‘Cross the border and you will be detained.’ Olav now become so concerned for the safety of his children and wife that he wrote to President Roosevelt from his then hiding place at Trangen, Langvatnet, on 10 May, reminding him of his offer made at Springwood a year before.

While Ragnhild and her siblings enjoyed themselves swimming and playing in the grounds of Ulriksdal, Crown Princess Märtha was being subjected to considerable political pressure from the Administrative Council in Oslo, who indicated that they wanted her to return (with Prince Harald) and assume the role of Regent until her son reached his majority. This, it was argued, would save the monarchy. However, it would also require King Haakon’s abdication. In a telegram to Hitler, on June 16, the Swedish King openly encouraged the Germans to adopt this ‘Norwegian Regency’ model. The Crown Princess was clearly aware of King Gustav’s ploy and sent a telegram to London warning her husband and father-in-law that her Swedish family (i.e., King Gustav) and Hitler were conspiring to remove King Haakon and set up a regency.

Since there was now a very real danger that the Crown Princess and Prince Harald might be kidnapped and taken to Oslo, on 22 June Crown Prince Olav wrote again to President Roosevelt (this time from Buckingham Palace in London, as he and King Haakon were required to leave Norway on 7 June to set up a government-in-exile and carry on the fight against the Nazi regime from England) asking him to make good on his offer of sanctuary to his children, but this time he also included a request on behalf of his wife. On 12 July, the US Secretary of State sent a message to the US Minister in Stockholm saying that President Roosevelt was arranging for a naval transport vessel to be sent to Finland to evacuate the Crown Princess and her family along with a group of ‘stranded’ US citizens.

On 18 July, Crown Princess Märtha received a telephone call from the Norwegian Minister in Washington, Wilhelm Thorleif von Munthe af Morgenstierne, to inform her that an American warship, the USS American Legion was being sent to Finland to transport her and her children to the United States. On 12 August, Ragnhild and her siblings were once again on the move when, along with their mother and a royal entourage, they travelled by rail to the Finnish port of Petsamo (now Petsjenga, Russia) where, on 15 August, they embarked the American Legion which transported them across the Atlantic to New York. Märtha appeared on the ship’s manifest as ‘Mrs Jones.’ Others in the party included the Crown Princess’ Chief of Staff, Peder Anker Wedel Jarlsberg, her Lady-in-Waiting, Mrs Ragni Østgaard, the latter’s son Einar and the royal children’s nurse, Signe Svendsen.

The Norwegian royal entourage arrived in New York on 28 August, after a stormy journey. They were taken to the Waldorf Astoria hotel where an eight-room apartment on the 32nd floor was put at their disposal. Ragnhild was photographed with a posy of flowers at the hotel entrance. Inside, she found a room full of dolls and toys awaiting her in the family’s luxurious suite. The children later joined their mother in the sitting room where the Crown Princess held a press conference. Märtha emphasised that her family’s presence in America was temporary which must have given some reassurance to Ragnhild.

The families next stop was to the private home of their host, President Roosevelt, at his country home at Hyde Park, which had a wonderful informal retreat, Top Cottage, where Ragnhild and her siblings played happily in the swimming pool; while Märtha took the chance to have a long chat with the President about her current situation. The duo also discussed where she might live. Within days, the Crown Princess and her children were heading to the White House in Washington D.C., from where the President took the Crown Princess for a drive in his official car to view a large twenty-four roomed property, set in 105 acres, at Pook’s Hill, Maryland. This was subsequently leased by the Norwegian government-in-exile for the royal family’s use.

America was a whole new way of life, both for the children and their mother. Although Crown Princess Märtha was already proficient in English (albeit with a strong Scandinavian accent) the three children were soon completely fluent in English. Nevertheless, their mother insisted that only Norwegian was spoken at home. The Crown Princess remained focused on providing her children with a secure upbringing and, in this respect, the US President proved a good friend: Roosevelt would often drive out to Pook’s Hill to take tea with the Norwegian royals; in turn they were often asked for lunch, tea, dinner or for a swim in the heated pool at the White House. Sometimes they joined the President and his family on a sailing trip on board the Presidential Yacht USS Potomac, perhaps on a short trip down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon, the home of the Founding Father of the United States, George Washington. President Roosevelt also helped Märtha to find schools for the children. The Norwegian royals also invariably celebrated Christmas with the Roosevelt family. Otherwise, the children lived a peaceful and normal life, with only occasional glimpses of the war from newsreels and the like.

In September 1941, King Haakon broadcast to the people of the United States thanking them for their unwavering support. Ragnhild and her siblings joined their mother to listen to their grandfather’s words over the radio at Pooks Hill. Yet many Americans remained determined isolationists and did not want to be drawn into any conflict. However, when the Japanese bombed the US naval facility at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in December 1941, the United States entered the war on the Allied side. This change would prove to be fortuitous for Norway.

During the summer of 1942, Ragnhild bid farewell to her mother as she flew to London for King Haakon’s 70th birthday on 3 August. The latter awarded his daughter-in-law with the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav for her role in promoting the Norwegian cause in the United States. Then, in September, the Crown Princess was present at Washington’s Navy Yard, when President Roosevelt handed over the gift of a submarine chaser to the Norwegian Navy. This was named the HNoMS King Haakon VII. Indeed, Ragnhild’s mother would now be regarded as a key figure in the Norwegian war effort, particularly in the USA, as she patriotically toured hospitals, churches, and schools with links to Norway. Nor was she averse to enrolling Ragnhild and her younger children to further the cause, as is exampled by the royal family’s regular visits to “Little Norway” the Norwegian Air Force training camp at Muskoka Aerodrome in Ontario. The propaganda value of such a patriotic royal visit was immeasurable, even more so if these pictures somehow found their way into the hands of Norwegians in their occupied homeland. The Crown Princess also invited the press into the family’s Maryland home for charming photographic opportunities, featuring Ragnhild and her sister and brother riding their bicycles or posing with their mother in the drawing room. Furthermore, on Norway’s National Day, 17 May, the royal siblings were photographed parading along with other children, their Norwegian flags held proudly aloft. These images were widely circulated to the US and international press. On other occasions, snaps were taken of the children with President Roosevelt whom they now called ‘Godfather,’ although he was probably more of a grandfather figure to these youngsters. They were on particularly good terms with the President’s photogenic Scottish Terrier, Fala. It all made for good publicity, as did Ragnhild’s mother’s radio broadcasts at Christmas to the people of Norway, in which she stated with emotion, ‘We think of you with sadness in our heart but also with unspeakable pride.’ For Christmas 1942, it was the turn of Ragnhild and her siblings to gather around the radio microphone to send Christmas greetings over the airways to those at ‘home.’

While in the States, the Crown Princess and her children enjoyed visits from Crown Prince Olav. However, they were never quite sure as to when he would arrive, although there was always a warm welcome when he did. Olav tried to spend several months of the year in the US and if it could be arranged to coincide with Christmas, all the better. During one of his visits, in May 1944, he accompanied Ragnhild to Chester in Pennsylvania where she christened a 10,000-ton tanker ship, assigned to the Norwegian Merchant Navy, the Karsten Wang.

Following the capitulation of Nazi forces on 8 May 1945, Ragnhild returned to Oslo on 7 June aboard the British ship HMS Norfolk, having set sail from Rosyth in Scotland, on 5 June, in the company of King Haakon, Crown Princess Märtha and her siblings Astrid and Harald. Wearing ill-fitting duffle coats, the teenage Princess’ and their brother were up on deck as the vessel sailed up the Oslofjord, escorted by happy Norwegians who took to the waters in all manner of flag-bedecked sailing craft, from fishing boats to tugs, to welcome their beloved Sovereign home. Ragnhild’s father, Crown Prince Olav, had returned to Norway on 13 May and he joined his family aboard HMS Norfolk at Moss for what must have been a very emotional reunion. In Oslo, the greeting from the hundreds of thousands of Norwegians who lined the streets by the Honnørbrygga was overwhelming and described by Aftenposten, a respected Norwegian newspaper, as ‘The biggest and most beautiful day in the history of free Norway.’ On one street alone, a large sign the breadth of the road read ‘Velkommen Hjem.’ King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav, Crown Princess Märtha and the three royal children later all appeared together on the balcony of the Royal Palace which was bedecked for the occasion with a large flag of Norway.

Yet, this must have been a difficult period of adjustment for Princess Ragnhild who had become used to the American way of life and education, not to mention the freedom which five years of relative anonymity (and a group of American friends) had brought. Nevertheless, following the family’s return to Skaugum in November (the royal residence had been occupied by the Nazi Reichskommissar Josef Terboven during the war and it had taken time to make it habitable again) she commenced her studies at the Nissen Girls’ School, obtaining her school leaving certificate in 1948. She later spent four semesters, between 1948 and 1949, studying at a finishing school in Lausanne, Switzerland. During this immediate post-war period, she met, and over time was to fall in love with, Erling Lorentzen, the son of a wealthy shipping owner and former member of the Norwegian resistance. He was seven years her senior. Post-war he joined King Haakon’s bodyguard with responsibility for his three grandchildren and he later taught Princess Ragnhild and her sister to sail aboard their sailing vessel Ukabrand. When Erling was attending Harvard Business School in the United States, around the same time Ragnhild was in Switzerland, the two continued to maintain a long-distance correspondence. In the meantime, a new batch of photographs was released to celebrate Ragnhild’s 18th birthday in June 1948. The Princess also began to undertake official engagements including a reception for US servicemen at the United States Embassy in Oslo in September 1949; while in May 1952 she attended events in connection with the visit of NATO supremo, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Again, in October, she and Astrid jointly opened an exhibition of items from the recently independent nation of India.

Ragnhild also travelled abroad to undertake duties on behalf of her homeland. In June 1951 she travelled to Paris to open the House of Norway. While in the French capital, she also attended the wedding of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma to Yolande De Broglie. She was seen off at Fornebu Airport by her father, Crown Prince Olav. Also present was Erling Lorentzen which perhaps might indicate a measure of recognition of the situation that was developing on the part of Ragnhild’s father. There was no sign, however, of Crown Princess Märtha. Crown Prince Olav was also at his eldest child’s side when Ragnhild and Erling attended a cross-country ski event (known as the 50km Holmenkollen) in March 1952, only two weeks after the completion of the VI Winter Olympics in Oslo.

On August 3 1952, Ragnhild was part of large party (including her maternal grandmother Princess Ingeborg of Sweden) who gathered in the Bird Room of the Royal Palace for a group photograph to celebrate King Haakon’s 80th birthday. There was also a balcony appearance at an event at the City Hall. She had earlier been photographed (cigarette in hand) alongside her smiling grandfather in the more relaxed environment at Skaugum. However, behind the smiles both King Haakon and Crown Princess Märtha resisted the prospect of Ragnhild’s marriage with a commoner, a situation they knew might prove controversial with members of the public. At one stage the couple were not allowed to meet for a whole year, presumably as some sort of test as to their commitment to each other (or perhaps in the hope that Princess Ragnhild might change her mind and look for a more ‘suitable’ royal suitor.) Ragnhild was taken aback by her family’s attitude writing to Erling that, ‘If I do say so myself, they have been more than terrible to me in this difficult time of ours.’ In desperation, Crown Princess Märtha now tried to engage the services of the war hero and resistance fighter Gunnar “Kjakan” Sønsteby as an intermediary. He was a close friend of Erling Lorentzen, and the Crown Princess wanted Sønsteby to make use of his influence and persuade Erling to break up with Ragnhild. But Sønsteby refused. It is no wonder that Ragnhild would write that, ‘It is almost the worst thing for me, that they [also] say and act like that towards the one I am so incredibly fond of’. Lorentzen would later recall that, ‘It was undoubtedly a difficult decision for King Haakon… and it was certainly a difficult position for all parties.’ Indeed, after years of angst and little progress on the matter, Erling finally decided to speak to King Haakon directly. He recalled ‘We had an open conversation. He did not give me any blessing. I later understood that he had raised the matter with the Prime Minister and the President of the Storting.’ This was the case and, in January 1953, Crown Prince Olav wrote to his daughter to say that ‘Now Grandfather has received an answer from Torp [The Norwegian Prime Minister] regarding you and Erling, and I am happy to be able to tell you that Grandfather will give his permission for you to get married.’ Olav seemed keen to unburden himself further adding, ‘I know it has been a difficult time for you… but I hope you still understand that this has not been done out of ill will, but because …..above all, that we, your parents, could be completely sure that you fully understood what you were doing..’

The couple’s engagement was announced on 14 February 1953 with a press conference being held at the bride-to-be’s home at Skaugum. They married at Asker Church, on 15 May, in the presence of her parents, her grandparents King Haakon and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, with the King and Queen of Denmark and Britain’s Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth II) being among the better known foreign royal guests. Following her marriage, the bride became known as Her Highness Princess Ragnhild, Mrs Lorentzen. She was no longer entitled to be addressed as Her Royal Highness following her marriage to a non-royal personage. Furthermore, her birthday was removed as an official flag day in Norway.

Ragnhild and her husband now moved to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where Erling planned to work for a couple of years in the shipping and gas sectors. These interests would later be extended into wood pulp production and cellulose. But that did not mean that Ragnhild was cut-off from her Norwegian family. She returned to Norway to visit her ailing mother, Crown Princess Märtha, who died of liver failure on 5 April 1954. Sadly, she had become infected with the hepatitis virus during an operation undertaken shortly after the Second World War. The period following this surgical procedure was difficult for the family as the Crown Princess’s health continued to deteriorate, her family having eventually been made all too aware that ‘there was only one way’ this could end. For Ragnhild the anxiety must have been acute, for she was pregnant with her first child throughout the final months of her mother’s life. On 23 August, Ragnhild gave birth to a son, Haakon, at Oslo’s Rikshospitalet. The child was christened at Asker Church the following month in the presence of his great-grandfather, King Haakon, maternal great-grandmother Princess Ingeborg and grandfather Crown Prince Olav. (Ragnhild would also return to Oslo for the birth of her second child, Ingeborg, on 27 February 1957.)

Following Crown Princess Märtha’s death, Princess Astrid took on the role of First Lady of Norway, helping her father and grandfather to entertain foreign dignitaries and accompany them on official duties. However, this did not prevent Ragnhild from also being present in Oslo for official events, such as State Visits. Such was the case when her kinswoman, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II paid a State Visit in June 1955 (the first of four visits by Elizabeth to Norway for the family bonds were close.) A wonderful memento of the visit was when Ragnhild and Astrid posed with ‘cousin’ Elizabeth in summery dresses. Over the years the Princess would also be present, inter alia, during State Visits by President Nyerere of Tanzania (1976), Queen Margrethe of Denmark (1992) and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (2010).

Only a few weeks following Queen Elizabeth’s visit, while Ragnhild was still on a family vacation in Norway, King Haakon suffered a bad fall in his bathroom at Bygdøy, breaking a thigh bone. Ragnhild and her husband paid him a visit at Oslo’s Rikshospitalet in August. The King would now be confined to a wheel chair and Crown Prince Olav appeared in public on his father’s behalf. When, on 21 September 1957 King Haakon died at the grand old age of 85. Princess Ragnhild travelled from Brazil for the funeral which was held on 1 October. She was also present at her father, King Olav V’s Consecration at Trondheim on 22 June 1958, a date which was particularly historic as this was the 52nd anniversary of the Coronation of King Haakon and Queen Maud on 1906. Ragnhild was prominently seated at the front of the cathedral and had a clear view of her father as he knelt before the high altar, while Trondheim’s Bishop Arne Fjellbu recited the consecration prayer in which he asked for God’s blessing on the King and his royal office. The Princess later appeared on the balcony of the Royal residence in Trondheim, Stiftsgården, alongside her father and her siblings.

On a cold, snow-covered day at Asker, in January 1961, Ragnhild, wrapped up against the cold in a long fur coat, attended the wedding of her beloved sister, Astrid, to Mr Johan Martin Ferner. Mr Ferner, an Olympic Silver medal winner in sailing, was not only a commoner (the son of a prosperous Oslo department store owner) but he was also divorced. The latter fact fanned the flames of controversy and even although Astrid had waited patiently for many years for permission to marry Mr Ferner, when King Olav finally gave his consent (following the inevitable consultations with the Prime Minister and President of the Storting) there was an outcry from many members of the clergy. Since Ragnhild had already been through the matrimonial mill, she was ideally placed to offer an empathetic ear to her younger sister during this difficult period. Having married a commoner, Astrid -like Ragnhild-was no longer entitled to be called Her Royal Highness. Henceforth, she would be addressed as Her Highness, Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner.

Princess Ragnhild, meanwhile, lived a relatively quiet life in a large apartment in Rio de Janeiro, taking care of her children. She rarely gave interviews but when the veteran journalist Annemor Møst met the Princess in her adopted homeland, he found that the Ragnhild remained ‘absolutely Norwegian’ and continued to maintain Norwegian traditions, particularly at Christmas when she loved to light many candles in Brazilian heat (as it was the height of summer, temperatures there often reached over 40 degrees Celsius). Furthermore, her apartment near the beach at Leblon, became a gathering place for Norwegians to visit, and the Princess’s concern for them, as well as her care for the disadvantaged in Rio, won her many friends. Among other things, she established Princess Ragnhild’s Fund for Children in Brazil and in 1961 the Princess laid the foundation stone for the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Santos, and was, according to one clergyman, a ‘driving force’ in raising funds over many years. She also opened the church’s annual Christmas bazaar. Ragnhild’s friends found her to be caring, faithful and loyal, with an infectious sense of humour. However, in large gatherings, she could appear to be shy and reserved. Jens Stoltenberg, who visited her in Rio, would later describe her as ‘our best ambassador to Brazil.’

In September 1967, Ragnhild was briefly in the limelight in her adopted homeland when King Olav paid a State Visit to Brazil. The Princess accompanied her father to his meeting with President Artur da Cost e Silva at the latter’s office in Rio (Ragnhild, as was the custom, subsequently met with the President’s wife). She and King Olav later attended Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations in Rio, on 7 September, where they joined the President and his wife on the review stand throughout the military parade (which included a fly-past by aircraft of the Brazilian air force). Ragnhild and her father then flew to the nation’s capital, Brasilia, on 8 July, to attend a formal state reception at the Itamaraty Palace. The following day, Ragnhild acted as hostess for the King at a return reception given by the Norwegian delegation at the Hotel Nacional. She then joined King Olav for a two-day visit to São Paulo.

On 8 May 1968 the Princess gave birth to a second daughter, Ragnhild Alexandra, at the Amparo Feminino Hospital in Rio. Although not born in Norway, the infant was baptized at Asker Church the following September. In the meantime, the Princess attended the wedding, on 29 August, in Oslo Cathedral, of her brother Harald to Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner. As with the marriages of his sisters, Harald (who had first met Sonja at a party in the summer of 1959) had been forced to wait (in his case for nine long years) before being permitted to wed. It is said that Harald grew so frustrated with the situation that he informed his father and the Norwegian Prime Minister, Per Borton, that if he could not marry Sonja he would remain unmarried for the rest of his life, thus threatening the future of the monarchy. Finally, the necessary consents were granted and the couple’s engagement was announced by the Royal Palace on 19 March 1968. Over 850 guests attended the wedding, including the King of Sweden and the King and Queen of Denmark. The Princess would later record that her ‘first impression’ of her new sister-in-law ‘was very good. I thought that the couple would probably get along well, because Sonja seemed both sweet and sensible.’ Ragnhild and her brother continued to remain close and, in September 1973, she made sure to be in Oslo for the christening of his son Haakon, the second-in-line to the throne of Norway. She was also present at Harald’s 40th birthday celebrations in February 1977.

In April 1982 Ragnhild attended the wedding of her son Haakon to Martha Carvalho de Freitas. This was followed two months later by the nuptials of her elder daughter Ingeborg to Paulo Ribeiro Filho. Harald’s daughter Princess Märtha Louise was a bridesmaid and Crown Princess Sonja also attended the celebrations. In September, Ragnhild and her husband were in Oslo for the events to celebrate King Olav’s 25 years on the throne.

On 17 January, 1991 King Olav died of a heart attack, aged eighty-seven, at his winter residence Kongsseteren. Ragnhild was present at his bedside, as were her brother and sister. Indeed, since her father had suffered a debilitating stroke in May 1990, the Princess had spent much of her time in Norway, full of daughterly attentions. King Olav’s death must have been a major blow for the Princess for the two were close. Furthermore, where she had previously stayed with her father in his royal residences, following his passing, Ragnhild decided to buy a flat in Oslo’s fashionable Frogner district as a base during her visits to Norway. It was here, now that her family in Brazil was grown up, that she would escape from the summer heat of Rio during the months of January through to March. Her life in Oslo (as in Rio) was mostly spent quietly: solo official engagements were few, although she still served as a Patron of the National Society for the Deaf in Norway. The Lorentzen’s also often vacationed at their cabin, which they named Arnfinnstølen, in the Votndalsåsen area, where Erling enjoyed meeting up with friends from his time in the Norwegian resistance. Back in Brazil, Ragnhild was also glad to make use of a new country house, at Pedra Azul, in the Serrana Region of Espírito Santo, where the temperature was considerably cooler than in Rio de Janeiro. The couple raised horses here, and there was sufficient accommodation for up to six guests with a cook to take the strain from entertaining.

The Princess attended the consecration of her brother King Harald in Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral in June 1991. A few years later, the Ragnhild and her sister Astrid inaugurated an exhibition of their grandmother, Queen Maud of Norway’s wardrobe at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. As she was over eight years old at the time of her paternal grandmother’s death, Ragnhild retained happy memories of the elegant Queen Maud gardening at Skaugum (where the two were often photographed together.)

Although a private person, in 1995 Ragnhild decided to write her autobiography (this was penned with the help of author Lars O. Gulbrandsen) published under the title, “Mitt liv som kongsdatter” [My Life as a King’s Daughter]. She wrote lovingly of her brother Harald noting that ‘The big age difference between Harald and me (6.5 years) made us never argue like most siblings. I thought my little brother was sweet, kind, and cheerful-yes, just as he is today.’ Ragnhild also admitted to being glad she was not the monarch noting that, ‘It must be a terrible struggle and responsibility to be a monarch, but Harald is doing a fantastic job.’ She added that,’ I see a lot of my father’s traits in Harald who, with each passing year, becomes more and more like him.’ In 1999, she also talked of her relationship with her homeland, in an interview with VG magazine, ‘We feel at home in both places. Our roots are both here [Brazil] and in Norway but she added ‘Now I couldn’t imagine staying 365 days in Norway.’

As the new millennium dawned, Ragnhild celebrated her 70th birthday. This caused some interest and Norwegian journalist, Tante P, conducted a television interview with the Princess during which she mentioned that she and her father had kept a up a regular(weekly) correspondence throughout her years in Brazil. She also indicated that these letters were currently in a safety deposit box and she had left instructions that they should be burned following her death, given that they were private correspondence of ‘no historical significance.’ However, when it emerged, in August 2001, that she had subsequently burned the correspondence (estimated in the press to be between 1500 and 2000 letters), historians were aghast. Author Knut Olav Åmås of the Norwegian Biographical Society stated bluntly that the Princess was hardly qualified to assess the historical value of this primary source stating, ‘It’s extremely sad to hear. A very important source of the history of the Norwegian monarchy has been lost. It’s shocking. It is a particularly unwise act by Princess Ragnhild…’ Yet, apparently, she was greatly influenced by the wishes of her late father. Indeed, King Olav described the letters as “his little chat with his daughter once a week” and according to his wishes, the letters were not registered in the Royal Court archives, nor did he want the letters to be made available to the public at any time, according to a Royal Palace press release.

Controversy or no controversy, in January 2001, Ragnhild attended her maternal uncle, Prince Carl Bernadotte’s 90th birthday party at the Grand Hotel in Oslo. This gave her an ideal chance to catch up with her royal cousins, her late Aunt Astrid’s daughter Josephine-Charlotte (then Grand Duchess of Luxembourg) as well as her son, Albert (at that time the King of the Belgians). Also present was Count Flemming of Rosenberg, the son of Crown Princess Märtha’s eldest sister, Princess Margaretha of Denmark. In early 2003, Ragnhild helped host an 80th birthday party for her husband Erling at the Grand Hotel. King Harald, Queen Sonja and Queen Silvia of Sweden (who had close family links with Brazil) were among the guests. Then, in July, Princess Ragnhild and her husband attended a football match between Norway and Brazil at Ullevåll Stadium. The result was a rather diplomatic draw. In November, there was the joyous occasion of the wedding of her youngest child, Ragnhild Alexandra to an American, Aaron Matthew Long. Princess Astrid and her husband were guests at the nuptials in Sao Pedro de Alcantara Church. However, the King and Queen did not attend which was not surprising given that they had recently concluded a State Visit to Brazil.

Princess Ragnhild was also known for having strong opinions, or rather what the former Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg referred to as her ‘fresh remarks.’ The Princess let it be known, in an interview with Anne Fredrikstad of Norway’s TV2 channel for their documentary “Princess in Exile”, which was shown in early 2004 (but recorded at her home in Rio in the autumn of 2003) that she did not approve of her brother’s children’s choice of spouses (Crown Prince Haakon wed, in August 2001, Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a single mother; while his sister, Princess Martha Louise married author Ari Behn in May 2002). Ragnhild observed that the royal family in Oslo must have had ‘bad advisers,’ adding that King Olav would never have approved of these matches. However, several Norwegian politicians, including Kjell Engebretsen, opined that the Princess should keep quiet about her private perceptions of the royal children, adding ‘I think that she should worry more about the President of Brazil.’ Ouch! Certainly, these remarks must have seemed surprising from the woman who, some fifty years earlier, had cleared the way for a member of the Norwegian royal family to marry a commoner for love. And after all, King Harald and Princess Astrid had both gone down a similar route. Furthermore, Ragnhild had been quite content to attend the nuptials of the couples whom she was now criticising. Meanwhile, Ragnhild and Erling celebrated their Golden Wedding with a trip aboard the car ferry MS Prinsesse Ragnhild which travelled the Oslo to Keil route.

Some commentators have indicated that Ragnhild’s remarks may have been prompted by her annoyance at her treatment by the Norwegian King and Queen during their recent State Visit to Brazil. Whereas in 1967, King Olav had chosen to place Ragnhild at his side throughout his State Visit, during the October 2003 visit King Harald’s sister received no official invitation to participate in any aspect of the visit. Indeed, when Ragnhild attended events, it was as the wife of her businessman husband, not in her role as a Norwegian Princess or the sister of the King. For this reason, she was unable to travel on the royal party’s chartered plane during a visit to Brasilia, the Norwegian Ambassador Jon Gerhard Lassen emphasising that this was because ‘Princess Ragnhild is not part of the official delegation;’ while the press spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Karsten Klepsvik, stated somewhat disingenuously that, ‘She would probably have been invited to some events during the state visit if she were not married to a member of the business delegation.’ The only private contact King Harald and Queen Sonja had with the Lorentzen family during their stay in Brazil was a lunch in Búzios on the day they flew into Brazil, but prior to the State Visit officially commencing on 7 October. The King and Queen also saw fit to cancel-at short notice-a family lunch at the end of the tour with Ragnhild and Erling at their Rio de Janeiro home. Nevertheless, in his official speech at a dinner given by the Governor of Rio at the Palace of Laranjeirast, the King did go out of his way to mention his sister and brother-in-law, stating ‘We also feel a special connection to the city since my sister, Princess Ragnhild, and Erling Lorentzen have been living here with their family for fifty years.’ And really this was the point. Indeed, Norwegian commentator Stig Tore Laugen expressed his surprise that Ragnhild (and her husband) should have been treated in this way given that ‘the Lorentzen couple “are” the symbol of Norway in Brazil.’

All seemed to be forgiven and/or forgotten, when in September 2005, Ragnhild joined her siblings and sister-in-law, Sonja, in Washington for the unveiling of a statue at the Norwegian Embassy (their wartime home at Pook’s Hill had long been demolished and the site redeveloped as a housing complex). The statue was a gift presented to the citizens of Norway from the Norwegian American Foundation on behalf of the Norwegian-American community in the United States to mark Norway’s centennial, as well as the Nordic nations one-hundred years of diplomatic relations with the United States. Ragnhild had clearly not forgotten the words of the “Stars and Stripes” and could be seen singing along to the US national anthem. In 2007, on King Harald’s 80th birthday, a replica of the statue was erected on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Oslo, a gift from the Storting, Norway’s Parliament.

On 9 June 2010 the King hosted an 80th birthday dinner for Ragnhild. Among those on the guest list are several long-time girlfriends from her post-war schooldays in Oslo, many of whom she had kept up with over the years. In an interview with the weekly publication Allers, the Princess admitted that even at this age, she did not find it easy to open-up to strangers. She also indicated that she spent a lot of time alone and thrived in her own company. As far as gifts were concerned, Ragnhild indicated that she would prefer it if contributions could be made to her charitable fund for the aid of street children in Brazil. She and Erling had previously attended a Norwegian National Day event in Rio de Janiero on 17 May which was attended by several hundred Norwegians.

In December 2011, Se og Hør interviewed the Princess and Erling in Brazil. Ragnhild indicated that after 59 years in Rio, ‘We will probably not move to Norway again.’ This was consistent with what she had stated to VG in 1999. But behind the scenes she and Erling’s commitment to their homeland remained strong and it was revealed that, in 2011 alone, they had donated one million kroner to help children with cancer. These funds enabled individual grants of 50,000 kroner to be made to a family with a child affected by the disease in order that they could go on holiday or realize a dream together. This donation followed hard on the heels of a larger donation (five million kroner) made three years previously to help with the building and maintenance of a holiday cabin, overseen by the Support Association for Children with Cancer. Ragnhild expressed the hope ‘that the researchers will one day manage to crack the cancer riddle.’

In the same interview, the Princess mentioned that she had now passed over the torch to the younger generation where the hosting of the annual family Christmas celebrations was concerned (before this, up to twenty family and friends had been royally entertained at Ragnhild and Erling’s Rio home.) The reason was simple, ‘It is a lot of work…’ Certainly the years were rolling on and the pace of life had to be adjusted accordingly. In February, 2012 the Princess was photographed with her two siblings at a dinner party given at the Royal Palace to celebrate the 80th birthday of Princess Astrid. The image was later released by the Royal House. Ragnhild looked frail and much thinner than in past times, but appeared tanned and beautifully turned out in a tasteful couture silk outfit. However, she was not present at the joint 75th birthdays celebrations for the King and Queen which were held in May as, at Easter, the Princess had fallen and fractured her hip. However, on further investigation, it was discovered that Ragnhild, who had never been one for bothering doctors, was suffering from lung cancer. Erling was told that his wife would have only six months to live. Initially, he did not share this news with the Princess for several months and she managed to make what would be her final visit to Norway in the summer. Thereafter, Ragnhild returned home to Rio de Janeiro where, as her health faded due to the cancer, she was constantly surrounded by her devoted family. She died in her own bed, in her own house at 9.45am local time on Sunday, 16th September.

Following her death, flags were flown at half-mast in Norway, including at the Royal Palace. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the government had offered to pay for Princess Ragnhild’s funeral, but her family had gracefully declined the offer. The mortal remains of Princess Ragnhild arrived in Oslo on 24 September. Both the King and Princess Astrid were at the airport to receive them along with a bearer party of the Royal Guard. Ragnhild’s funeral was held at noon on 28 September in the chapel at the Royal Palace, where she had been baptized in 1930 and confirmed in 1947. This was followed by a reception for family and close friends at the palace. In the afternoon, Princess Ragnhild was laid to rest, as she herself had requested, in the cemetery at Asker Church where, touchingly, she and Erling had married nearly 60 years earlier. The committal was attended by close family only, just as the rather ‘private’ Princess would have wished.

How was Ragnhild remembered? The then Prime Minister Jens Soltenberg described her as ‘a warm-hearted representative of Norway.’ Kjell Arne Totland, former court reporter with Se og Hør, defined Ragnhild as, ‘a royal of the old school.’ He added, ‘She did not seek the limelight and so probably had a lot in common with her grandmother, Queen Maud. Therefore, I think she was happy that she could live a quiet and relatively quiet life in Rio all these years.’ Odd Nelvik, a former editor with the same publication also recalled that she was renowned for her direct speaking but noted too that, ‘She always had a twinkle in her eye.’

Perhaps the last words should go the Princess herself. In 2010, during an interview with Allers magazine, she stated, ‘My motto in life is to keep the wheels turning as long as possible! And when I think back on life, I am filled with gratitude for all the good times I have had. I have always focused on the positive.’

Robert Prentice is the author of the biography Princess Olga of Yugoslavia Her Life and Times (link below for e-book) Hard Copy also available from Amazon.

Sister in the Shadows.

Princess Margretha of Sweden and Norway was born on 25 June 1899 at her parent’s white-washed summer home, Villa Parkrudden, in Stockholm’s exclusive Djurgården. She was the eldest child of Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Västergötland (the third son of King Oscar II) and his wife Princess Ingeborg, sometimes referred to as “the happiest Princess”, the eldest child of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The couple went on to have three more children, Martha (born in 1901), Astrid (1905) and Carl (born in 1911 and known in the family as ‘Mulle’.)

There was a brief flurry of excitment, in 1905, with the news that Prince Carl was being considered as a prospective ‘candidate’ for the Norwegian throne. However, that honour finally fell to Ingeborg’s brother, Prince Haakon of Denmark, who reigned for 52 years as King Haakon VII of Norway and earned the lasting respect and admiration of his subjects.

Margaretha had a happy upbringing in Stockholm and, with her sisters, spent the summers (and often Easter and Christmas too), from 1909 onwards, at the family’s newly-constructed Villa Fridhem, overlooking Lake Skiren, near Bråviken in Östergötland. One of the main features was a purpose-built solid brick “Wendy House” which featured chintz wallpaper, a scaled-down kitchen with impliments and white furniture. Visitors at Fridhem included Margaretha’s Swedish-born maternal grandmother, Queen Louise of Denmark and her daughter Thyra.

The three sisters became something of a public relations draw for the Swedish royal family, with their images featuring regularly on postcards and in magazines. The Swedish Court photographer Jaeger also produced wonderful photographic portraits of the family, both individually and in groups. The family often joined other members of the Swedish royal family at events such as the 60th birthday celebrations of King Gustav V, held at his summer residence, Tullgarn Palace, in 1918. This would be one of the final royal family gatherings for Margaretha before she departed her homeland.

Although Margaretha’s named had been linked with the Prince of Wales (‘David’), the Princess was already in love with Prince Axel of Denmark, a cousin of Princess Ingeborg. The couple married on 22 May 1919 at Stockholm’s historic Storkyrkan (Great Church). The newlyweds made their home at the Villa Bernstorffshøj (a wedding gift) in the shadow of Bernstorff Palace, at Gentofte. The royal duo had two children-both sons-Georg (born in 1920) and Flemming (born in 1922). Although Margaretha was now a Princess of Denmark, the family photographic portraits continued to be taken by the trusted Mr Jaeger from Stockholm.

Meanwhile, back in Sweden, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg were beset by financial problems when the Danish bank, Landmandsbanken, who managed Ingeborg’s private capital, crashed. For reasons of economy, Prince Carl moved his family from the Djurgården into an apartment in Stockholm’s Villagatan in the autumn of 1923. Fortunately, Fridhem remained in the family and truly became “home” to all of Prince Carl’s family, including Margaretha who was a frequent visitor there with her sons. However, this change in family circumstances did not deter Margaretha’s sisters from making excellent marriages. In 1926, Astrid married the wealthy Prince Leopold, the Duke of Brabant and heir to the Belgian throne; while, three years later, Märtha wed her cousin, Crown Prince Olav of Norway.

The sudden death of her youngest sister, Queen Astrid of the Belgians, in a car accident in Küssnacht, Switzerland, in August 1935, at the tender age of 29, proved to be a devastating blow for Margaretha. Astrid had been flung from a Packard convertible car, driven by her husband King Leopold, and tossed against a tree, resulting in a fatal blow to the head. Margaretha and her mother Ingeborg remained in Brussels, following the funeral, to help the widowed King Leopold care for his children, Josephine-Charlotte, Baudouin and Albert. This trio often visited Villa Fridhem in the summer and would have encountered their Aunt Margaretha, along with their teenage cousins Georg and Flemming, during these Swedish sojourns.

In 1936, Margaretha was shaken by another event: her beloved Villa Bernstorffshøj was severely damaged by fire. Prince Axel rose to the challenge and commissioned the architect Helweg Møller to design a new and much enlarged white-washed residence featuring wide, expansive windows, a charming library, a large drawing room (in which Margaretha hung family portraits) and a long, sweeping terrace. Large vases of flowers arranged artistically throughout the main public rooms added a welcome feminine touch. Each time the Princess travelled out to her home via the coast road from Copenhagen, she was afforded wonderful views of her native Sweden, so temptingly near across the sea.

Margaretha’s husband, Prince Axel, who had intially served in the Danish navy, now enjoyed a busy and varied business career: In 1921, he began working for the Copenhagen-based East Asiatic Company, which operated shipping services to Bangkok and the Far East. In 1937, he rose to the rank of Chairman and Managing Director. The Prince was also a member of the International Olympic Committee and Honorary Chairman of Scandinavian Airlines. While he zipped in and out of Copenhagen in his Bentley, usually accompanied by his latest pet dog, Margaretha preferred to remain at home and dedicated herself to raising her family. An avid letter writer, she also corresponded with her extended family in Sweden, Norway and Belgium. The Princess also undertook charitable work and was Chairperson of the children’s charity, Gentofte Børnevenner. Margaretha also accompanied her husband on some of his official and business trips overseas, including an extensive tour of Asia, in 1930, also in the company of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and his younger brother, Prince Knud. Yet the Princess was also a familiar sight in Copenhagen, her tall, angular frame invariably offset by a neat hat with a small veil, as she rushed to a lunch engagement or to take tea at the Amelienborg.

The period of the German occupation of Denmark in World War II was a difficult and risky time for the Princess. Her husband was an avowed Anglophile and he was said to have kept in touch with British intelligence sources in Stockholm. Furthermore, the Villa Bernstorffshøj was used as a meeting place for members of the Danish resistance, while weapons for use against the German occupiers were concealed nearby. This led to Prince Axel being placed under house arrest for a period. It also did not help that Margaretha’s sister, Crown Princess Märtha, had become an iconic symbol of Norwegian resistance against the Nazi cause, particularly in the United States, where she lived in exile with her children, throughout most of the war, under the benevolent protection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Observers, and in particular the writer James Pope-Hennessey, described the Princess as ‘stiff’, while others found her to be very conscious of rank, precedence and court etiquette. Margaretha would therefore have enjoyed attending the wedding, in London, in November 1947, of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth (a great-great granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark) to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN (born a Prince of Greece and Denmark and, like Margaretha, a great-grandchild of King Christian IX). This was the first major gathering of European royalty since before the outbreak of World War II. What she made of the marriage, in May 1949, of her younger son Prince Flemming to a commoner, Alice Ruth Neilsen, is best left to the imagination. Nevertheless, it must have been a bitter blow to the status-conscious Margaretha, as Flemming was required to relinquish the title of Prince of Denmark and was henceforth known as Count of Rosenborg. Then, in September 1950, her elder son, Prince Georg, married the British Queen Consort’s divorced niece, Lady Anne Bowes-Lyon. Unlike his brother Flemming, Georg cared deeply about his royal title and was able to remain a Prince of Denmark thanks to his successful plea to King Frederick not to revoke his royal status. It helped that Britain’s King George VI had also approached Frederick over the matter, probably at the urging of his wife Elizabeth. Although Georg’s new wife was now able to take the title of Princess Georg of Denmark, unlike ‘Lilibet’ and Philip’s marriage, this was certainly not a union of royal equals. Margaretha’s association with the British Royal family continued when she and Prince Axel officially represented the King of Denmark at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in Westminster Abbey, in June 1953.

After the death of her sister, Märtha in 1954 , “Aunt ‘Tha” became an important support to her nieces Ragnhild and Astrid, as well as to her nephew Harald. Indeed, following Prince Axel’s death in July 1964, the Princess invariably spent Christmas with her brother-in-law, King Olav of Norway, in Oslo. As the sole surviving sister of Crown Princess Märtha, in August 1968, she was seated in pride of place next to the bridegroom at the banquet to celebrate the nuptials of Crown Prince Harald to Sonja Haraldsen. In 1971, she attended a Gala dinner at Akershus Castle in honour of King Olav’s 70th birthday. Later that year, Crown Prince Harald asked his beloved Aunt to act as sponsor (godmother) to his daughter, Princess Märtha Louise, at her christening.

Margaretha had often visited Sweden over the years, particularly to celebrate the milestone birthdays of (or mourn the deaths of) members of the Swedish royal family. In widowhood, she usually attended the annual presentation of the Nobel Prizes in Stockholm’s Concert Hall on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. This ceremony was followed by a sumptuous banquet in the City Hall, where the press invariably captured the Princess in animated conversation with one or other of the winning Laureates. Another date in her Swedish calendar was attending a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at the Storkyrkan on the first Sunday of Advent.

Princess Margaretha survived her husband by 12 years. Following a stroke in December 1974 ,the Princess was obliged to make use of a wheelchair. She died after suffering another stroke on January 4, 1977, aged 77 at Tranemosegård in Zealand. She is buried beside her husband Axel in the grounds of their beloved home at Gentofte.

The writer of this blog is the author of a new biography Princess Olga of Yugoslavia: Her Life and Times published by Grosvenor House Publishing and available to purchase now as a hardback or e-book through Amazon or other on-line outlets.

Crown Princess Märtha Eludes Nazi Regency plot.

Following the German invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940, King Haakon, his son Crown Prince Olav, daughter-in-law Crown Princess Märtha and three grandchildren (Ragnhild, Astrid and Harald) journeyed northwards by train, accompanied by members of the government, from Oslo’s Østbanen Station to Hamar in an attempt to evade capture. By the early evening, the royals had settled at an estate at Sælid, a few kilometres outside of Hamar, where they were just sitting down to dinner when word was received from the local police chief of the impending arrival of several busloads of German troops. The little group immediately set out by car towards Elverum, to rendezvous with members of the government who had fled there from Hamar, arriving at 10.30pm. However, the news there was equally uncertain and it was at this juncture that a decision was taken to send the Swedish-born Crown Princess Märtha and her three children over the border into neutral Sweden for reasons of safety. A royal convoy of three cars crossed the border into Sweden from Trysil, in the early hours of 10 April, and proceeded to the Høyfjellshotell in the ski resort of Sälen. As it was a glorious sunny day, the children spent most of the time skiing on the nearby slopes, while their mother remained at the hotel glued to the radio for news of events in neighbouring Norway. What she heard could hardly have lifted her spirits, as the Germans were now bombing Eleverum and Nybergsund, killing dozens of people. At one stage, King Haakon and his son Olav are forced to take shelter in a ditch to avoid being fired on by low-flying Heinkel bombers.

Crown Princess Märtha’s mother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden arrived at Sälen a few days later, visibly tired yet ‘filled with a glowing hatred of the Germans’, according to one of the Norwegians, for her homeland of Denmark had also been occupied. Ingeborg was also deeply concerned for the welfare of her brother, King Haakon and her son-in-law (and nephew) Olav. Meanwhile, the Swedish authorities were nervous of the Norwegian royalty remaining so close to the border area so, thanks to Princess Ingeborg’s efforts, the royal party was able to take up temporary residence at Count Carl Bernadotte of Wisborg’s home at Rasbo near Uppsala.

After about two weeks, Märtha’s paternal uncle, King Gustav V of Sweden, who was known to have pro-German leanings (and had already refused a plea from King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav to cross the border into Sweden for fear of provoking Hitler) offered Crown Princess Märtha and her party accommodation at Ulriksdal Palace, on the outskirts of Stockholm. Although at dinner on the first evening, ‘everyone was terribly kind and friendly’, there was no discussion of the increasingly perilous situation in Norway, where King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav remained in constant danger from a crack unit of German commandos’ intent on their capture or possibly death. But Olav was also concerned for the safety of his children and wife in Sweden and wrote to President Franklin D Roosevelt from Trangen, Langvatnet, on 10 May, mentioning an offer which Roosevelt had made, in late April 1939, during the Crown Prince and Princess’ weekend stay at the President’s country home at Hyde Park, ‘to take care of the children’ if the war should reach Norwegian shores.

Märtha, meanwhile, spent time playing rummy and bridge each evening after dinner while the children and their nurse played games of tennis, swam in a nearby inlet or went picnicking. However, underneath, the minutiae of everyday Palace life, the Crown Princess was increasingly anxious about the future, for her sole communication with her husband was via courier and, as he was constantly on the move, that was sporadic at best. This left her in a very vulnerable position and soon Märtha was subjected to considerable political pressure from the Administrative Council (among others) in Oslo, who indicated that they wanted her and Prince Harald to return to Norway and cooperate with the occupying power in order to save the monarchy. This would, of course, involve King Haakon’s abdicating. The timing of this political intervention was no accident for, as the Germans were only too well aware, the Norwegian King was no longer in Norway as, following the decision of the Allied powers to withdraw from Norway, he and his son Olav had departed Norwegian soil at Tromsø, on 7 June, to settle temporarily in England and carry on the fight for Norwegian democracy there. To make matters worse, the Swedes also became involved in discussions over the future of the Norwegian monarchy. In a telegram to Hitler on June 16, the Swedish King openly encouraged the Germans to adopt a ‘Norwegian Regency’ model whereby Harald would be proclaimed king, although his mother would act as regent until the Prince reached his majority. Märtha was clearly aware of the growing danger and sent a telegram to London warning her husband and father-in-law that her Swedish family (i.e. King Gustav) and Hitler were conspiring to remove King Haakon and set up a regency.

It has to be said that there was now the very real danger that Prince Harald might be kidnapped and taken to Oslo. This must have crossed the mind of Crown Prince Olav for, on 22 June, he had written again to President Roosevelt from Buckingham Palace asking him to make good on his offer of sanctuary to his children, but this time he also included a request on behalf of his wife. Olav also made an approach to the US Secretary of State via the US Ambassador in London, Joseph Kennedy, entreating ‘if there is anything you can do in a hurry to get the [Crown] Princess out [of Sweden].’ On 12 July, the US Secretary of State sent a message to the US Minister in Stockholm saying that President Roosevelt was arranging for a naval transport vessel to be sent to Finland to evacuate the Crown Princess and her family along with a group of ‘stranded’ US citizens. Both the German and British governments had agreed to grant the ship safe passage. The US Minister was now instructed to meet with Märtha and ascertain if she wished to proceed with this offer.

Meanwhile, in Norway, word had reached the Administrative Council that King Haakon was refusing to abdicate, thus placing in doubt on the regency option. According to the US Minister in Stockholm, the Administrative Council were now trying to reach a satisfactory agreement with the German occupying authorities, whilst also being careful to avoid upsetting the local population by attempting to ‘dethrone’ Europe’s only elected Sovereign. A National Council was proposed to conduct state affairs while the King remained overseas.

On 18 July, Märtha received a telephone call from the Norwegian Minister in Washington, Wilhelm Thorleif von Munthe af Morgenstierne. He informed a somewhat surprised Crown Princess (who, not unsurprisingly, seems to have been in the dark about Crown Prince Olav’s recent correspondence with Roosevelt) that an American warship was being sent Finland to transport her and her children to the US. On 20 July, Märtha received the US Minister to Norway, Mrs Florence Harriman, who was now ensconced temporarily at the US Legation in Stockholm, and indicated to her that she was happy to accept President Roosevelt’s offer. Nevertheless, Märtha was keen to emphasise that she wanted to enter the US ‘as quietly as possible’ and ‘would not be required to meet reporters or a reception committee’. The Crown Princess also clearly hoped the date of her arrival would be kept confidential.

On 22 July, Mrs Harriman was informed by the US State Department that a naval transport, the USS American Legion, was about to leave for the Finnish port of Petsamo (now Petsjenga, Russia) and should reach there around 5 August. It was also made clear that there was ‘no possible way’ the Crown Princess’ arrival in the US could be kept confidential. Indeed, soon after Märtha left Ulriksdal, on 12 August, the Norwegian Legation released a statement to the press, also broadcast over Radio Sweden, stating that the Crown Princess and her three children ‘will leave for the United States in the next few days to visit President Roosevelt’ who had issued ‘a personal invitation’ to the Norwegian royals. In the interim, the Crown Princess travelled northward into Finland and on to Petsamo where, on 15 August, she and the royal children embarked the American Legion which transported them across the Atlantic to New York. Märtha appeared on the ship’s manifest as ‘Mrs Jones.’ Others in the party included her Chief of Staff, Peder Anker Wedel Jarlsberg, a Lady-in-Waiting, Mrs Ragni Østgaard, the latter’s son Einar and the royal children’s nurse, Signe Svendsen. Touchingly, Prince Harald was pictured clutching his beloved teddy bear. However, in her luggage, Märtha also had a touching, splendid farewell gift from her mother: a magnificent suite of emerald and diamond parure which had once belonged to Queen Sophia of Sweden. The intention was that should the Crown Princess ever be in financial difficulties, during these difficult war years, she could raise cash by selling the parure.

The author of this blog takes a keen interest on the fate of royalty during World War II. He examines the wartime adventures of Princess Olga (the onetime Consort of the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia) in Africa (and much else besides) in the new biography Princess Olga of Yugoslavia: Her Life and Times published on 1 April 2021 by Grosvenor House Publishing. This is now available to purchase on Amazon in hardback or e-book.