https://www.insider.com/p...an-monarchy-queen-2020-12Princess Märtha Louise says she was a problem from the moment she was born because females couldn't inherit the throne
Norway's Princess Märtha Louise is the eldest child of King Harald and Queen Sonja, and yet she is fourth in the line of succession. At the time of the princess' birth in 1971, only males were able to inherit the throne — which, according to Märtha Louise, made her a problem from the moment she was born. Märtha Louise spoke to Insider about sexism within the royal family, and how she was once given the opportunity to be queen — but didn't accept the offer.
"So the first thing that happened when I was born was basically 'Oh my god, it's a girl. What do we do?' I was basically a problem from when I was born, which I didn't know about. My mom and dad always wanted a girl, so I never felt that I was undermined because I'm a girl within my family," Märtha Louise told Insider.
In 1973 the princess' brother, Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway was born. Haakon became heir to the throne when King Harald was crowned 1991. The prince's children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus, have also overtaken Märtha Louise at second and third in line respectively. However, when Märtha Louise was a teenager, discussions took place over whether the royal household should change its rules on the line of succession. The young princess was asked whether she wanted to be queen, something that she had never considered before.
"I was totally happy growing up, I wasn't jealous at all," she said. "But when I was 15, the Prime Minister at the time was a woman, and she suddenly came up with the idea that this was wrong. I remember she came home to us, with granddad [King Olav V], and we had a discussion about whether we should change the whole system and I should be queen."
"They said, 'What do you want, Märtha?' And I'm like, 'I'm 15, I don't know about these things,'" she added.
The princess didn't feel that she would be able to make such a big decision about her future at that age, so it was ultimately decided that her brother would keep his place in line to the throne.
"For me, I was like, 'Phew.' It is a lot of pressure, and it really is a life that you need to choose and be committed to 100%. So I'm very happy that my brother is next in line, and he's doing an amazing job. He's focused on all the right things," Märtha Louise said.
The princess has carved a life for herself without royal duties since 2002, when she denounced her HRH title in order to work as a private citizen. With her boyfriend, Durek Verrett, the royal embarked on a spirituality tour last year, titled The Princess and the Shaman. She also has her own TV documentary in the works, although production is currently halted due to the pandemic.
The Norwegian royal family has come a long way in its battle for gender equality
Norway eventually changed its rules surrounding the line of succession so that those born after 1990 would succeed the throne regardless of gender. Nonetheless, even the princess knows that queens aren't immune to gender inequality in the royal household. Märtha Louise said her mother, the Queen consort of Norway, faced sexism from within the royal palace when she started dating King Harald.
"We have a long way to go for equal rights for women. I've seen my mom struggle, because when she came into the palace they had to wait nine years to get married because she wasn't aristocracy or from any royal background," Märtha Louise said.
The princess added that when her mother arrived, the palace was "a military driven organization where the women had been gone for many years."
According to Märtha Louise, Queen Sonja — then known as Sonja Haraldsen — wasn't allowed to have her own office, and palace officials questioned her request to have her own staff.
"She wasn't even accepted in the building," Märtha Louise said.
Sonja was made Queen consort of Norway after Märtha Louise's father became King in 1991. Ever since then, the Queen has been fighting for equality in the palace. According to Märtha Louise, at least 50% of palace staff are now women, "thanks to my mother."
"Watching her fight for equality, and how she managed with little wins there, little losses there, and my father supporting her, seeing her persisting for such a long time that it paid off in the end — I learned so much from her," the princess said. "And I think this whole, me being a problem when I was born, also sparked an understanding in me in how this world works."
"It's this subconscious thing within us — we still expect the head CEO to be a man, or the doctor or surgeon is a man and not the woman," she added. "We have tried to be the same for a long time now, and women have overcompensated to be in the men's world. And I think it's swinging back now, to where women can be women and it's respected."