Sunday, 12 February 2017

A touching tribute from Princess Astrid on her 85th birthday


Princess Astrid Maud Ingeborg, Mrs Ferner on her 85th birthday
(photo Sven Gj Gjeruldsen/ det kongelige hoff)

She is a very modern princess who broke lots of new ground and was her country's first lady for many years. As she celebrates a landmark birthday, Princess Astrid is bringing it all back to mum and dad. In a touching portrait, released to mark her 85th birthday, she poses between portraits of her parents to take her story right back to where it all started. 

A second portrait of Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner released to mark her 85th birthday
(photo Sven Gj Gjeruldsen/ det kongelige hoff)

The photo is one of two released by the Royal Household of Norway to mark Princess Astrid's 85th birthday. She stands, in gala dress with her turquoise tiara, between a portrait of her mother, Princess Martha, and her father, King Olav, who is seen as a young prince. Martha's early death, in 1954 led to Astrid acting as first lady of the Norwegian court for over a decade until her brother, Harald, married in 1968.



Astrid's own life has mirrored the many changes of royalty in her eight and a half decades. She was born in Villa Solbakken on February 12th 1932, sinto a world where women didn't have succession rights and where royal christenings involved epic lists of godparents with important titles. Along with big sister, Ragnhild, and younger brother, Harald, she ended up living in Washington where her family fled from the Nazis. Back home in safety after the end of World War Two, Astrid fell in love with a man with no royal title and gave up her own HRH to marry him. By then she was acting as first lady in place of her mother but she would slowly take a back seat as the focus of the throne fell on her baby brother. She saw her own niece and great nieces win the succession rights she never enjoyed and now, as she turns 85, she remains an integral part of her country's Royal Family. In a few weeks' time she will no doubt help lead the celebrations as King Harald celebrates his own landmark 80th birthday. But as these photos and the reaction to them show, Princess Astrid retains a very special place in the royal story of Europe.

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