20 February 2015

Longest reigns page finally updated

I have not been able to do much work on my website the last few months, which has meant that the much needed updating on some of the subpages had to be put on hold.

My subpage Longest reigns, which is a survey of the longest reigns among the reigning monarchs, has now finally been updated. Since the last update both Spain and Saudi Arabia have got new kings and Monaco has got a hereditary prince, so it certainly was on time.

I hope that I will be able to do more work on my website in the months to come. But I also hope that I will not have to update the Longest reigns page for a while, as that usually means that someone on the list has passed away.

4 February 2015

Last resting place for Johan Martin Ferner

Ris Church and Cemetery. Photo: @2014 Stig Rune Pedersen.

The Norwegian Royal Court confirmed today in form of an e-mail written by Assistant Head of Communication Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen that Johan Martin Ferner, who died on Saturday 24 January 2015, will have his last resting place at Ris kirkegård (Ris cemetery) in Oslo. Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner have lived in the parish of Ris since they got married in 1961.

Ris Cemetery is also the place where Queen Sonja's parents Karl August and Dagny Haraldsen as well as her sister Gry are buried.

Ris Cemetery only has urn graves, so following the cremation at Alfaset I gather that the urn will be interred later on when the the ground is not longer frostbound. I will come back to this in due time when the headstone has been put up.

After I received the e-mail, I learned that the court reporter Kjell Arne Totland had already written about Ferner's last resting place in his blog, but he didn't state his sources.

2 February 2015

Funeral service for Johan Martin Ferner

The funeral service for Johan Martin Ferner, who died on 24 January 2015, took place at Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo today, with bishop emeritus Sigurd Osberg and parish pastor Jan Erik Heffermehl officiating. In attendance were - besides Johan Martin Ferner's widow Princess Astrid and her nearest family - King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn, as well as other Ferner family members and many friends. Former foreign secretary Thorvald Stoltenberg, an old friend of Princess Astrid, and Crown Prince Haakon's former girl-friend Cathrine Knudsen, also attended.

The funeral service was described as private, meaning that the media was not allowed inside the chapel during the ceremony. A small pool of photographers covered the event when the mourners entered and left the chapel.

From today's press release from the Royal Court we learn that the ceremony was opened by the musician Ole Edvard Antonsen's trumpet with Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". A group of soloists from the boys' choir Sølvguttene ("Boys of Silver", the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's boys choir) sang "Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Antonsen also rounded off the ceremony with "Ave Maria" (Bach/Gounod). Hymns during the ceremony were "Alltid freidig" and "Deilig er jorden" ("Fairest Lord Jesus"). The organist was Petter Amundsen.

See also photo and film coverage at VG.no, Dagbladet.no and NRK.no. Among the many wreaths can be spotted one from the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg as well as the one from Princess Astrid (green ribbon).

Updated on Monday 2 February 2015 at 22:35 (typo corrected; first paragraph modified).

28 January 2015

Members of the Norwegian Royal Family attending the funeral service for Johan Martin Ferner

The Norwegian Royal Court has confirmed that in addition to Johan Martin Ferner's widow Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner, King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn will all attend the funeral service, which will take place at Holmenkollen Chapel on Monday 2 February 2015.

The late Johan Martin Ferner's nearest family is of course also expected to attend, in addition to other Ferner relatives. Some of the Lorentzens might fly in from Brazil. Erling Lorentzen, who celebrates his 92nd birthday today, seems to be in good shape for his age, but could still find the long flight too tiresome.

The funeral will be a private affair without media presence. I doubt that there will be many, if any, members of foreign royal families present, as the historian Trond Norén Isaksen has also commented on in his blog article of Monday 26 January 2015.

26 January 2015

Funeral service for Johan Martin Ferner

The funeral service for Princess Astrid's husband Johan Martin Ferner, who died on Saturday 24 January 2015, 87 years old, will take place at Holmenkollen Chapel on Monday 2 February 2015 (1 p.m.), the Norwegian Royal Court announced today.

HM The King has decided that on the day the funeral service takes place, the flag will be flown at half mast from the Palace balcony. After the ceremony of sprinkling earth on the coffin has taken place, the flag will be hoisted to the top.

It is still not known where Ferner will be interred.

The Holmenkollen Chapel, which is situated in the Ris parish in Oslo, is close to the hearts of both the royal family and the Ferners. After the chapel burned down in 1992,  Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner was involved in the campaign for rebuilding it. Princess Astrid and Johan Martin's eldest son Alexander was married there in 1996. Holmenkollen Chapel is also the place where the royal family traditionally attends the service on Christmas Day.

24 January 2015

Johan Martin Ferner (1927-2015)

Johan Martin Ferner, husband of Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner and brother-in-law of King Harald V of Norway, died early in the morning today, 24 January 2015, at Rikshospitalet (the National Hospital), Oslo, the Royal Court has announced. The time of death was stated as 05.25. Ferner was last seen in public at his youngest son's wedding in October 2014, and looked rather frail.

In his condolences King Harald says that "It is with deep sadness that we have received the news that Johan Martin Ferner has passed away. Our thoughts go to Princess Astrid and her family, who have lost a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather".

Johan Martin was born at the Red Cross Clinic at Frogner in Oslo on 22 July 1927 as the youngest son and child of clothes shopkeeper Ferner Jacobsen (1885-1964), from Nøtterøy outside Tønsberg, and Ragnhild Ferner Jacobsen, née Olsen (1889-1966), who came from Tromøy, which today is a part of Arendal municipality. According to the midwife's birth report to the Oslo Health Council, Johan Martin was born at 9.30 in the evening with Ragna Huser as midwife. Johan Martin's siblings were Inger (1913-1972) and Finn-Christian Ferner (1920-2001).

By the Ministry of Justice and Police's grant of 21 November 1927 Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were given the right to adopt their father's given name Ferner as their surname. The grant published in Norsk Kundgjørelsestidende said:
Ved Justisdepartementets bevilling av 21. november 1927 er kjøpmann Ferner Jacobsen og hustru Ragnhild Jacobsens barn Inger, Finn Christian Ferner og Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo meddelt tillatelse til å anta navnet Ferner som slektsnavn.
("By the Ministry of Justice's grant of 21 November 1927 are shopkeeper Ferner Jacobsen and wife Ragnhild Jacobsen's children Inger, Finn Christian Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo, was given permission to adopt Ferner as surname.")

 The grant published in Norsk Kundgjørelsestidende 25 November 1927 No. 295, p. 1.

One could get the impression that the sons already had the name Ferner as their third given name, but only the names Johan Martin were registered at birth.

After graduation from the private Vestheim (high) school at Frogner, Oslo in 1947, Ferner followed a course at Oslo Handelsgymnasium (Oslo Business College) before heading on to business studies at the London Polytechnic Institute, Bradford Technical College and the University of Lyon. He then worked at Harrods in London before returning to Oslo to work for his father's company clothers shop Ferner Jacobsen AS in Stortingsgata (Parliament Street). He worked his way up in the company before taking over the ranks together with his brother Finn-Christian in 1964. Johan Martin's youngest son Carl-Christian (b. 1972) is today the executive chairman of the board.

Johan Martin Ferner was for many years an active yachtman and took a silver medal (Six Metre Class) in sailing at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.

In 1953 Johan Martin Ferner married Ingeborg Hesselberg-Meyer (1931-1997). The marriage ended in divorce in December 1956. Ferner and Princess Astrid had been part of the same social sircle since the early 1950s and after his divorce their friendship gradually developed into a relationship. King Olav finally gave in and gave consent to marriage and their engagement was announced on 13 November 1960. The wedding took place in Asker Church on 12 January 1961 (the mariage banns at Oslo domkirke (Oslo Cathedral) can be read here (no. 75)). The couple had 5 children: Cathrine, b. 1962, Benedikte, b. 1963, Alexander, b. 1965, Elisabeth, b. 1969 and Carl-Christian, b. 1972, and 5 grandchildren.

The court has so far not informed about the funeral arrangements and where Johan Martin Ferner's last resting place will be. The Ferner family grave is at Vestre gravlund (Western Cemetery) in Oslo, but I would not be surprised if Ferner was interred at Ris Churchyard instead. Johan Martin Ferner and Princess Astrid have for many years lived at Gråkammen in Oslo in the parish of Ris (their former home at Vindern was also in the same parish). Princess Astrid's sister Princess Ragnhild is buried at  Asker Cemetery.

The Ferner family grave at Vestre gravlund (Western cemetery) in Oslo.

Updated on Saturday 24 January 2015 at 9 p.m. (last article was modified); Saturday 24 January 2015 at 9.10 p.m. (my translation of condolences replaced with the court's own version, link added); Monday 26 january 2015 at 09.35 (reference in image of name change byline corrected from "395" to "295"), Monday 26 January 2015 at 19.30 (typo corrected).

16 January 2015

UK: Twitter account for the Cambridges and Prince Harry

Kensington Palace opened earlier this week a Twitter account for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry if Wales, meant to cover their activities as well as updates on their Royal Foundation.

The link to their Twitter account is https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal. Buckingham Palace's Twitter account can be found at https://twitter.com/BritishMonarchy, while the activities of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are covered by https://twitter.com/ClarenceHouse.

The Duke of York is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDukeOfYork. Tweets sent by HRH himself is signed - AY. I doubt that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will tweet themselves, though.