boys clothing: European royalty -- Norway King Olav V Princess Martha









Norwegian Royalty: Princess Martha (1901-54)


Figure 1.--Here Crown Princess Martha is pictured with her son Prince Harald. The photograph was taken just before the German World War II invasion, probably in 1939.

Princess Martha was the daughter of the Swedish Prince Carl (1861-1951) and Princess Ingeborg (1878-1958). Prince Carl was the son of King Oscar II. Princess Martha was born in Stockholm jut as Norway was about to separate from Sweden (1901). Princess Martha and Prince Olav were cousins and met as children. Prince Olav and Princess Margaret were first engaged secretly. Only later was the engagement made public. The two married (1929). It was the first Norwegisan royal wedding in 340 years. Princess Msrtha thus becamne Crown Princess of Norway. Princess Martha became the first crown princess of independent Norway in modern times. She was an instant hit with the Norwegian people, The royal couple had three children. The oldest wa Prince Harald who would suceed his father as king. The other two children wer Ragnhild and Astrid. They narrowly escaped cspture by the NAZIS and were taken in by President Roosevelt. During the War she tirelessly worked for the Norwegin people, After the war she was welcomed home as a herobne. Sadly she died of cancer befor Olav became king.

Parents

Princess Martha was the daughter of the Swedish Prince Carl (1861-1951) and Princess Ingeborg (1878-1958). Prince Carl was the son of King Oscar II. Princess Ingeborg was a Danish process. When Princess Martha was born, Norway was still a part of Sweden and even after separation, close family reations connected the Swedish and Norwegian royal families.

Childhood

Princess Martha was born in Stockholm jut as Norway was about to separate from Sweden (1901). Her full name was Märtha Sofia Lovisa Dagmar Thyra. She was until the separation a princess of Norway as the two states were combined in a personal union of the monarchy. Princess Martha and Prince Olav were cousins and met as children.

Crown Prince Olav

Prince Olav was son of King Haakon VII (1872-1957) and Queen Maud (1869-1938). Queen Maud was the daughter of the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra of Britain. Olav was the only son and Norwayt's beloved "little prince". There were songs and poems written about him and his portrait was in evry Norwegian schoolroom. [Goodwin, p. 149.] Olav is pictured with his English Cousin George (1902-42). (Prince George was the fourth son of George V and Queen Mary. He was created Duke of Kent in 1934, marrying Princess Marina of Greece in the same year. He was killed in an air crash in 1942 while on active service with the RAF.) Queen Maud of Norway being George V's sister, and the Norwegian royal family spent regular holidays at Sandringham. Olav was an outstanding sportsman and competed in the Olympic Games as a yachtsman.

Marriage

Prince Olav and Princess Margaret were first engaged secretly. Only later was the engagement made public. The two married (1929). It was the first Norwegisan royal wedding in 340 years. Princess Msrtha thus becamne Crown Princess of Norway. Princess Martha became the first crown princess of independent Norway in modern times.

Crown Princess

Princess Martha's outgoing personality was as popular with the Norwegian people as it was with Prince Oskar. Their marriage was very popular in Norway. She was an particularly skilled seamstress and sewed clothing for herself and their children. She pursued various chartitable activities. The most important was Crown Princess Märtha’s Memorial Fund which was established as established soon after the marriage (1929). The purpose of the Fund was "to provide financial support to social and humanitarian initiatives carried out by non-governmental organisations." Prince Olav and Princess Martha just before the outbreak of World War II visited the World's Fair in New York and toured the Upper Midwest. They met with President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and struck of a friendship. President Roosevelt was enchanted by her.

Children

The royal couple had three children. The oldest wa Prince Harald (1937- ) who would suceed his father as king. The other two children were daughters Ragnhild and Astrid.

World War II (1939-45)

Norwegian officials were intent on maintaining the country's neutrality as they had done in World War I. Norway had no professional army and only a poorly trained militia. Officals had seen the German newsreels of what had happened in Poland and were intent on maintaining the country's neutrality. In fact they persued this course even after the NAZI invasion was underway (April 1940). Control of Norway ptoved useful to the NAZIs as naval and air bases made it difficult for the Royal Navy to bottle up the U-boats in the North Sea. Norway was also an important source of raw materials. Later after the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans were able to launch devestating raids on Allied convoys delivering war materials to Murmansk and Archangel. The NAZIs much admired Norway as a rich source of Nordic Aryan breeding stock. The Resistance was active in Norway. The resistance aided by the British staged some important raids and kept the Allies informed of German military movements. They also saved about half of Norway's small Jewish population from the Holocaust. The Germans maintained a substantial army of occupation. Later in the War, the Allies tried to convince the Germans that they were planning an invasion, to discouraging the Germans from drawing down the occupation force to strengthen the Atlantic wall in northern France.

Refuge from the NAZIS

German troops carried out a surprise invasion of Norway (aPril 1940). They seized Oslo within hours. The royal family narrowly escaped capture, Princess Martha and the three children managed to reach her native Sweden where she expected to be harbored in safety. She did not get the welcome she expected. The Sweeds thought her presence put their neutrality in danger. At the time, many Sweeds thought thsat they would be yhe next NAZI target. There were even suggestions that the Princess should return to Norway. The Germans were apparently offering to proclaime her eldest son Harald king. Princess Martha was not about to do this. President Roosevelt offered to oprovide refuge for her and the roysal family. The United sTates at the time was still neutral. Thus American ships could pass unhindered in the NAZI controlled Baltic. The Princess and the children traveled to the Finish port of Petsamo (sceeded to the Soviet Union after the War) where they boarded the USS American Legion. One safely in the United States, she and the children were at first put up in the White House by President Rosevelt. They also stayed fir a time at Hyde Park and the White House until they found permanent quarters. [Goodwin, pp. 149-154.] The Presidentenjoyed her company. Princess Martha worked for the Red Cross and did what she could for Norway. She nust have influenced the President's "Look to Norway" speech (1942). She tirelessly worked for Norway and publicized the plight of the Norwgian people in the Amerivan media.

Post-War Era

Germany occupied Norway until the ebd oif the War (May 1945). Princess Martha returned to Norway and was received as a national hero. She was hailed as a "mother of the nation". She experienced several illnesses and poor health. Princess Märtha sadly died from cancer before she could become queen.

Sources

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (New York: Simon&Schuster, 1994), 759p.






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Created: 12:43 AM 7/25/2008
Last updated: 12:43 AM 7/25/2008