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Norway’s Princess Ragnhild dies aged 82

King Harald greeted with sorrow the news on Sunday of the death of his older sister, Princess Ragnhild.

Norway's Princess Ragnhild dies aged 82
Princess Ragnhild (left) with her siblings Princess Astrid and King Harald (Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen/Det kongelige hoff).

The 82-year old princess died at her home in Rio de Janeiro, where she had lived since her marriage in 1953 to resistance fighter Erling Lorentzen.

“She was a good ambassador for Norway in Brazil – a warm-hearted representative for the country to which she always felt a connection,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in a statement.

Born in 1930, Ragnhild Alexandra was the first child of the then Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha.

After her marriage to Lorentzen – the son of a shipping magnate – she became known by the official title Princess Ragnhild, fru Lorentzen.

Following their move to Brazil, the couple had three children, with the housewife princess stepping ever further away from the limelight. Only occasionally did she represent Norway in an official capacity.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg noted however that the princess had long displayed warmth towards people in need in Brazil. This was reflected in part by the creation of the Princess Ragnhild Fund for children in her adoptive country.

In 2004, she created headlines in Norway for a television appearance in which she criticized Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise for their respective spousal choices.

King Olav, she said, would never have agreed to admit Ari Behn or Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby into the royal family.

Princess Ragnhild had battled with illness for some time, according to the experienced royal reporter Kjell Arne Totland.

“I know that the royal family has been kept updated on Princess Ragnhild’s health in recent months,” Totland told newspaper Bergens Tidende.

She was unable to travel to Oslo in May to celebrate the king and queen’s 75th birthdays.

The princess will be buried at Asker Church following a ceremony at the Palace Chapel. No date has yet been set for the funeral.

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ROYAL

Has King Harald snubbed Sweden’s royal wedding?

Norway’s King Harald is not attending the wedding of “Europe’s coolest royal couple” Sofia Hellqvist and Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip on Saturday, leaving Scandinavian royal watchers puzzled.

Has King Harald snubbed Sweden's royal wedding?
Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip marry on Saturday in Stockholm. Photo: Swedish Court
According to the Norwegian Royal Court, Queen Sonja is scheduled to attend the wedding along with Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Princess Märtha-Louise and her husband Ari Behn. 
 
However, Harald himself will be absent. 
 
“The King has another private engagement, and will not be at the wedding,” a court spokesperson told Dagbladet. 
 
The spokesperson would not clarify whether Harald had been invited or not.
 
Last year, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav ruffled Norwegian feathers by at first declining to attend the bicentenary of the Norwegian constitution. 
 
He later relented and attended the ceremony on May 17. 
 
Kjell Arne Totland, a Royal expert with TV2 told Dagbladet that it was quite common for Norway’s King and Queen to attend events alone. 
 
“In April Harald went alone to Copenhagen for the 75th birthday of Queen Margrethe,” he said. “Both King and Queen were invited both to there and to Stockholm, but this time it is the king who has other plans for the weekend.” 
 
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