Norwegian princess to visit St. Olaf College

Princess Martha Louise of Norway, the only daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja and fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, will visit St. Olaf College on Thursday, April 13, as part of a national speaking and promotional tour for her book Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns.

Princess Martha Louise will be in the Black and Gold Ballroom in Buntrock Commmons at noon for a 30-minute presentation about growing up as royalty in today's world and why she wrote her bestselling children's book. Her remarks will be followed by 80 minutes of book signing. The talk is free and open to the public. Svein Nyhus, award-winning illustrator of the book, also will be present. Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns is on sale at the St. Olaf Bookstore. Copies will be available for purchase at the event.

Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns centers on events in 1905, when Norway's union with Sweden was peacefully dissolved and Norway needed to find a new royal family. The book's tale begins there and is based on the childhood of the princess' grandfather, King Olav V. Little Prince Olav wants to play in the snow and ski just like the other children, but every time he leaves the palace something bad happens to the crown on his head, and the king and queen are not amused.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale has praised the book, describing it as "a creative way to incorporate the historical events of 1905 into a story that will be enjoyed by children for many generations."

Fairy Tales and Gospel Music
Fascinated by traditional Norwegian folk tales and possessing a love of music, the princess started giving public and televised performances in the 1990s, reciting folk tales and singing with well-known Norwegian choirs. She also has joined the Oslo Gospel Choir as a soloist for its annual Christmas concert. Her latest project is gathering fairy tales from around the world to be published in four volumes -- one for each season. In addition, a Nordic volume will be produced, mainly comprised of fairy tales from Scandinavian countries.

Princess Martha Louise studied English literature at Oxford University and obtained certification as a physical therapist. She advocates for disabled children and manages her own business as a cultural mediator. Because of her business and entertainment interests, she has reduced her activities as a member of the royal family, although she still carries out some public duties on behalf of the king. She is married to author Ari Behn and is the mother of two young daughters.

Princess Martha Louise's tour begins on April 2 in San Diego, Calif., and ends April 29 in Tacoma, Wash. The Twin Cities portion of the tour will begin at Augsburg College Wednesday, April 12. The night of April 13, following her visit to St. Olaf, she will speak in the Elmer L. Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota. She will be at the Ridgedale Public Library in Minnetonka and the Van Dusen Center, sponsored by Norway House, in Minneapolis April 15.