Atlantic Crossing: What Happened Next
Wondering what happened to Martha and the Norwegian royal family after the events of Atlantic Crossing? Learn all about what came next for Martha and Olav’s family, for Norway, and where they all are today!
Crown Princess Martha
After the death of President Roosevelt and the end of the second World War, Martha and her children, alongside Olav’s father, King Haakon, finally set off on their return journey to Norway and arrived home on June 7, 1945. Thanks in part to Martha’s passionate diplomacy throughout the war, the Norwegian people welcomed her and her family back with exuberant, open arms. Though she had assumed the roles of First Lady after the passing of Queen Maud in 1938 and took on more duties because of the declining health of King Haakon in the last decade of his life, Martha never officially became Queen of Norway due to her early death. However, the Norwegian people’s love for Martha only continued to grow, even after her passing on April 5, 1954 at the age of 53 after battling cancer. The Bishop of Oslo, Johannes Smemo, once said of the beloved Martha: “In our hearts she has long been our Queen, and she will be so forever.”
The Norwegian people’s love for Martha did not end in Norway. In 2005, a memorial statue was erected in Martha’s honor in Washington, D.C. Martha and Olav’s children attended the event. “This is the first time all three of us are here in Washington since 1945, together,” King Harald V said to the Washington Post at the time, alongside his sisters Princess Ragnhild (who has since passed away) and Princess Astrid at the embassy. “It’s quite an occasion for us.”
Not long after Martha’s 1954 death, King Haakon passed away at the age of 85 in 1957 after years of declining health (during which Martha and Olav had stepped up to more responsibilities for the royal family). He had led the country as their king for 57 years.
Crown Prince Olav (King Olav V)
Olav ascended to the throne in 1957 after Haakon’s death. The new king never remarried after the death of his beloved wife Martha, and ruled the country without a queen for 33 years until his own death on January 17, 1991. Though heralded by his people, Olav’s rule was not without controversy. The Norwegian leader adamantly and openly decried discrimination against immigrants. He also addressed the UN General Assembly on numerous occasions, and frequently focused on social values, despite attempting to remain as apolitical as possible in the public eye. In Norway, he eventually became known and loved as the “People’s King”.
Prince Harald (King Harald V)
Today, Martha and Olav’s son Harald, born in 1937, sits on the Norwegian throne as King Harald V of Norway. He’s the youngest child of Martha and Olav, but the only son, and thus was the heir to his father’s throne. After a quiet relationship for many years, Harald married commoner Sonja Haraldsen (now Queen consort) in 1968, creating a stir amongst the people and within his family. Allegedly, Harald told his father that if he did not have his consent to marry Sonja, he would marry no one, according to Royal Central, which would have brought an end to the Norwegian royal line. The couple have two children — Princess Martha Louise, born in 1971, and Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, born in 1973. They also have five grandchildren. In January of 2021, Harald celebrated his 30th year on the throne.
Fun fact: Harald (and his siblings) are also descendants of Queen Victoria! “The non-British royal most closely related to Queen Elizabeth, Harald V (Martha’s son) is also a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and is actually descended from the same branch of the family as Elizabeth II,” according to Town & Country. “Like the queen, his great-grandfather was England’s King Edward VII, making the monarchs second cousins. Harald V’s grandmother, Maud, was the youngest daughter of Edward VII and became Queen of Norway when she married Haakon VII in 1896. The couple had only one child, Olav V, Harald’s father.”
Princess Ragnhild, the oldest of Martha and Olav’s three children, passed away on September 16, 2012 at the age of 82. She was married to Erling Lorentzen, a Norwegian-Brazilian industrialist. The couple moved to Brazil after being married, and had three children of their own — Haakon Lorentzen, Ingeborg Lorentzen, and Ragnhild Lorentzen. Though the oldest child of Martha and Olav, Ragnhild was never in the Norwegian line of succession because of her gender. However, despite not being in line to the Norwegian throne, Ragnhild was in line to the British throne during her life, as was her sister, Astrid. Ragnhild was the first cousin once removed of King George VI, and at the time of her birth in 1930 was 17th in line to the British throne.
Princess Astrid, the middle child of Martha and Olav’s three children, also married a commoner — Nowegian sailor and Olympic medalist Johan Ferner, who passed away in 2015. Astrid and Johan have five children, : Cathrine Ferner, Benedikte Ferner, Alexander Ferner, Elisabeth Ferner, and Carl-Christian Ferner. After the death of her mother, Astrid acted as First Lady of Norway, stepping in to work alongside her father for state visits and royal duties. Today, Astrid remains a patron of a number of charitable organizations, mainly focused on work for women, for children, and for young people who struggle with dyslexia. She also chairs the board of directors of Crown Princess Märtha’s Memorial Fund, a fund established in 1929 that provides financial support to social and humanitarian initiatives carried out by non-governmental organizations.
Current Line of Succession
Currently, the line of the succession to the Norwegian throne is as follows:
Crown Prince Haakon (son of King Harald V and Queen Sonja)
Princess Ingrid Alexandra (daughter of Crown Prince Haakon)
Prince Sverre Magnus (son of Crown Prince Haakon)
Princess Martha Louise (daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja)
Maud Angelia Behn (daughter of Princess Martha Louise)
Leah Isadora Behn (daughter of Princess Martha Louise)
Emma Tallulah Behn (daughter of Princess Martha Louise)
Thanks to a change in law in 1990, the Norwegian throne is now able to pass to the eldest child regardless of gender.