Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby

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Person.png Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(royal)
Royal Wedding Stockholm 2010-Konserthuset-389.jpg
Mette-Marit with her husband Crown Prince Haakon
Born19 August 1973
Kristiansand
NationalityNorwegian
SpouseHaakon Magnus
Member ofWEF/Young Global Leaders/2010
Wife of Haakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway. Brother of Per Høiby, chief executive of Norway's by far most influential PR agency First House. Friend of Jeffrey Epstein.

Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway (born Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby) is the wife of Crown Prince Haakon. Haakon is the heir apparent to the Norwegian throne, which means that should he ascend to the throne, she will automatically become Queen consort of Norway.

A Norwegian commoner and single mother with a disadvantaged past, she was a controversial figure at the time of her engagement to Haakon in 2000. She became Crown Princess of Norway upon her marriage in 2001. The couple have two children, Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus, who are second and third in line to the Norwegian throne respectively.

In 2019, she attracted controversy for her friendship with the American convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The same year, she was diagnosed with a form of pulmonary fibrosis. She is being treated at Oslo University Hospital and has restricted her royal duties.[1]

Background and education

Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was born in Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway, the daughter of Sven O. Høiby, who had been unemployed for some time but who had previously worked as a journalist for a local paper, and Marit Tjessem, a former bank clerk. Her parents divorced, and her father later married professional stripper Renate Barsgård.[2] She has a sister and two older brothers, including Per Høiby, chief executive of Norway's by far most influential PR agency First House. Her stepbrother, Trond Berntsen by her mother's 1994 marriage to Rolf Berntsen died in the 2011 Norway attacks.[3]

After starting at Oddernes upper secondary school in Kristiansand, Mette-Marit spent six months at Wangaratta High School located in North East Victoria in Australia as an exchange student with the exchange organisation, Youth For Understanding. Later, she attended Kristiansand katedralskole, where she passed her final examinations in 1994. She then spent several months working for the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce[4] at Norway House in Cockspur Street, London. When her assignment in London ended, Mette-Marit relocated to Norway.

By her own admission, Mette-Marit experienced a rebellious phase before she met Crown Prince Haakon Magnus.[5] As a part-time student, she took six years, longer than usual, to complete her high school education before going on to take preparatory college courses at Agder College. She then worked on and off as a waitress in Oslo.[6]

In the late 1990s, Mette-Marit attended the Quart Festival, Norway's largest music festival, in her hometown of Kristiansand. She met Crown Prince Haakon at a garden party during the Quart Festival season.[7] Years later, after becoming a single mother she met the prince again at another party related to the festival.[7]

Engagement and marriage

When the engagement between Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit was announced, public and media reaction was negative, with many Norwegians being "horrified"[8] and feeling that the Crown Prince's choice of partner was questionable; her lack of education, previous relationships with convicted felons and her socialization in a milieu "where drugs were readily available" were often cited by critics. At the time of their engagement, Mette-Marit was a single mother to a son named Marius Borg Høiby, born 13 January 1997 from her relationship with convicted felon[9] Morten Borg. Marius Borg Høiby, who holds no title or special role, withdrew from public life in 2017 when he moved to the United States to attend an unspecified college.[10]

Jeffrey Epstein

In 2019, she attracted controversy for her friendship with the SDS sexual blackmailer and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein; she met him several times between 2011 and 2013, after his conviction on charges of sex trafficking of minors in 2008 and release from prison. Crown Prince Haakon also met Epstein during one of these occasions while the couple were on a holiday in Saint Barthélemy.[11][12][13]

Her friendship with Epstein was revealed by Norwegian media in the context of the scandal involving Prince Andrew, Duke of York who in that year resigned from all public roles over his longstanding ties to Epstein and allegations of sexual abuse. In a statement, Mette-Marit spoke of her regret in failing to investigate Epstein's past. The Royal Palace's communications manager Guri Varpe stated that the Crown Princess ceased contact with Epstein as he was attempting to use his connection to her to "influence other people."[11][14]



References


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