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Olav V of Norway

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Olav V
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Olav V
Template:House of Oldenburg (Glucksburg-Norway)

His Majesty King Olav V (July 2, 1903 - January 17, 1991) reigned as King of Norway from 1957 to 1991. Born in England, the son of Prince Carl of Denmark and of Princess Maud, (daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom), and given the names and title of Alexander Edward Christian Fredrik, Prince of Denmark, he assumed the name Olav when his father became King Haakon VII of Norway in 1905.

On March 21, 1929, he married Princess Märtha Louise of Sweden with whom he had one son, Harald, and two daughters, Ragnhild and Astrid. As exiles during World War II, Crown Princess Märtha and the royal children lived in Washington, D.C., where she struck up a close friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt. She died in 1954, before her husband ascended the throne.

During World War II Olav stood by his father's side in resisting the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. When the government decided to to go into exile he offered to stay behind with the Norwegian people. As crown prince he had received extensive military training and was respected by other allied leaders for his knowledge and leadership skills. He was appointed to the post of Norwegian Chief of Defence in 1944 and led the Norwegian disarmament of German occupying forces.

Olav reigned as a king of the people, and became extremely popular. He liked to drive his own cars and would drive in the regular highway lanes though he was allowed to drive in the public transportation lane. During the 1973 energy crisis Norway banned car-driving for certain weekends, but the king, not wishing to miss an opportunity to go skiing outside Oslo, took the tram. When he tried to pay for his tickets, the conductor told him that people further back had already paid for him. A journalist once asked him if he was afraid to walk around unprotected, he answered Why should I be afraid? I have 4 million bodyguards! -- referring to the Norwegian people.

King Olav also was an accomplished athelete. He jumped from Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo, and also competed in sailing regatas. He won a gold medal in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, in sailing (6m mixed) and was an active sailor until old age. He had a strong interest in military matters and took his role as titular commander-in-chief very seriously.

The night after he died (at the Royal Lodge, Kongsseteren) and for several days up until the state funeral, Norway saw a great demonstration of mourning as Norwegians lit hundreds of thousands of candles in the courtyard outside the Royal Castle in Oslo, with letters and cards placed amongst them. The National Archives have preserved all these cards. He was nicknamed "Folkekongen" (English: "The people's king".)

Olav's son Harald V succeeded him as King.

Controversy regarding his biological father

In 2004, biographer Tor Bomann-Larsen raised the possibility that Haakon VII might not have been the biological father of Olav. Bomann-Larsen provided non-conclusive evidence that Maud could have been made pregnant through artificial insemination with the semen of either her doctor, Sir Francis Laking, or his son Guy Laking. In addition to circumstantial evidence related to the whereabouts of Haakon (then Prince Carl) at the time of conception, Bomann-Larsen supported his hypothesis with photographs of Guy Laking which show a resemblance with Olav.

In a press release from the Royal House it was stated that King Harald "has no information that suggests that King Olav should not be the son of King Haakon".

In March 2005, historian Odd Arvid Storsveen at the University of Oslo published a highly critical review of of Bomann-Larsen's book. Storsveen claims that there does not exist adequate sourcing for Bomann-Larsen's "hypothesis" that Olav wasn't the biological son of Haakon and is further extremely critical of the way Bomann-Larsen uses photographic resemblance as "proof".

Royalists agree that even if Bomann-Larsen's theory should be true, it would not have constitutional consequences for the royal house of Norway, in large part because the plebiscite that made Haakon king also included consideration of Olav's hereditary status. Furthermore, traditionally, the husband of a child's mother is considered to be legally its father so long as he acknowledges the child as his own.

Regarding his genealogical ancestry among earlier kings of Norway and other Scandinavian royals, him not being a blood son of Haakon VII actually changes very little. Olav was in any case a biological son of Maud (Haakon's own first cousin), who was daughter of Queen Alexandra, herself daughter of Louise of Hesse and Christian IX of Denmark. Louise and Christian both were descendants of Haakon V of Norway and of most Danish kings of Norway, such as Christian I of Norway, Frederick I of Norway, and Frederick III of Norway, up to Frederick V of Denmark. As biological son of Maud, Olav V is the great-great-grandnephew of the 1814 King Christian Frederick of Norway. The only significant Norwegian dynasty in that case not ancestors of Olav would be that of Haakon's mother Lovisa of Sweden, daughter of Charles IV of Norway and descendant of Bernadotte kings of Norway, i.e Charles III John of Norway and Oscar I of Norway.

However, regarding children of Olav and Märtha, they, as children of Haakon's niece Märtha, are all descendants of Haakon's parents, totally irrespective of whether Olav was Haakon's son or not. (Märtha of Sweden, Crown Princess of Norway, was daughter of prince Carl of Sweden, duke of Westrogothia, and his wife princess Ingeborg of Denmark, who herself, a sister of Haakon, was daughter of Frederick VIII of Denmark and Lovisa of Sweden. Through that ancestry, those Bernadotte kings of Norway are in any case ancestors of Olav's son Harald, and of his two daughters, Ragnhild and Astrid, as well as of Harald's children, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Mrs Behn.)



Preceded by:
Haakon VII
King of Norway
1957–1991
Succeeded by:
Harald V

Template:End boxde:Olav V. nl:Olaf V van Noorwegen fi:Olavi V nn:Olav V av Noreg no:Olav V pl:Olaf V sv:Olav V av Norge

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