23 September 2009
«The Prince and the Nanny»
I obviously missed the news of the book «The Prince and the Nanny. The Life of Prince Harald, now King of Norway, as told in Historical Context and through the Journal of his Nurse, Inga Berg» when it was published by Skandisk Inc. in Minnesota in 2008. But today I got hold of a copy of the second edition published this year.
As the title suggests, the book tells the life of King Harald so far, but also gives many details about Inga Berg (1896-1983), who served as a pediatric nurse for the then Prince Harald for the first year and a half of his life. The book is built on the diary that she wrote during her time at Skaugum, the Crown Prince family’s estate in Asker outside Oslo, and gives nice glimpses of the first months of Prince Harald’s life.
As the author, Odell M. Bjerkness, writes in his preface, the book is organized in four sections:
- Part I provides background information about the life of Inga Berg and the royal family
- Part II is Inga Berg’s journal from her 18 months as the royal residence at Skaugum, with translations and explanations by the author
- Part III, the epilogue, completes the story of Prince Harald and Inga Berg, tracing some of the activities of the two families until the present.
- The final part contains endnotes, a bibliography and appendices.
The book is richly illustrated and especially enjoyable are the appendices, with among others the letter of recommendation written by Crown Prince Olav’s ADC, Nikolai Ramm Østgaard (1885-1958), information on vacation time compensation, Inga Berg’s personal invitation to the wedding of Crown Prince Harald and Miss Sonja Haraldsen in 1968 and «Excerpts of weight and milk charts, February 23-April 23, 1937»!
It might have been told before in other books about King Harald, but now we know that he weighed 3170 grams at birth (about 7 pounds) and 4900 grams on 4 May 1937!
The author, Odell M. Bjerkness of Edina, Minnesota, Professor Emeritus of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, is the son of Marie Berg Bjerkness, the elder sister of Inga Berg. He received the St. Olav medal by King Olav V in 1982 for his work in promoting Norwegian-American relations.