4 May 2022

The Norwegian Royal Court. Annual Report 2021

The Norwegian Royal Court's annual report for 2021 was published on 25 April 2022. It has been a while since last time I wrote about the release of the annual report. As I have commented on before, it is not always possible for me to write blog articles the same day (or the day after) something major or otherwise newsworthy has happened. There are so many other things I have to attend to as well. It is easier to review a genealogical periodical or a book as the time pressure is not that great. Anyway, commenting on an annual report 9 days after it has been published is not that bad, is it?

I have commented earlier that if it hadn't been for the perhaps less appealing accounts for the Civil List, the annual report is a good compensation for lack of the royal yearbooks which are not published anylonger. You get a good survey of the royal family's activities during the year in question.

In short, the Norwegian Royal Court's annual report gives details about the activities of the Norwegian Royal Family and the operation of the Norwegian Royal Court during the year, including the accounts for the Civil List and surveys of orders and medals being awarded during a given year. The report for 2021 counts 102 pages, is well illustrated (many great photos in fact) and has a nice design (by Neue Design Studio). 

The Lord Chamberlain, Gry Mølleskog, who will leave her position later this year, opens the report with a few words about the main events of 2021. Then we get a very detailed report on how the royal court is organised and their main activities last year. Other chapters include the Crown Prince couple's activities, the Royal Diary 2021, cultural heritage, the security project, the King and the Defense, the change of government, the state visit from the Netherlands, the events marking the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks in Norway in 2011, finances, and management, equality and environment, health and safety, royal orders and medals and royal trusts. The last page gives a list of explanations to various words and expressions one mets at the court, like the civil list and protocol.

From the press release one can read among others:

Annual Reports


The report is intended to provide better information about and increase understanding of the activities of the Royal House of Norway and the Royal Court. [...]

Annual report for 2021

Just as in society at large, the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to affect the activities of the Royal House of Norway and the Royal Court in 2021. Nonetheless, a high level of activity has been maintained. The Royal Family visited 8 counties and 31 municipalities in person and paid digital visits to 3 counties and 13 municipalities. There were 50 meetings of the King in Council of State held at the Royal Palace, and 27 formal audiences were given to receive ambassadors from other countries. In November, Their Majesties The King and Queen were the hosts for a State Visit by the King and Queen of the Netherlands, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince paid an official visit to the US. 

The security project

Activities under the project to enhance security at the Royal Palace and the other Royal residences were extensive in 2021, and major portions of the project were completed during the course of the year. The high level of activity has resulted in a planned budget deficit which is covered by previously set aside appropriations to the project. The project was commissioned in 2016 by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security in response to a security analysis carried out by the National Police Directorate from 2012 to 2015, and is expected to be completed in 2022.

The security project has a budget framework of NOK 623.8 million. As the project has progressed, a number of factors have proven to be more complicated than in the original specifications set out in the preliminary project. As a result the project has been somewhat delayed and has required greater outlay than planned. These factors were related both to geological conditions and to the management of cultural heritage. Alongside this, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to problems with the delivery to Norway of the materials needed, a rise in prices and a lack of qualified craftspeople. In the first quarter of 2022, one of the project’s three primary suppliers filed for bankruptcy, which also entailed greater costs. The cost projections are higher, and funding in excess of the cost framework will be required.

Annual accounts

The planned deficit for the security project is NOK 129 144 266, which is covered by previously set aside appropriations. Per 31 December 2021, the project accounts show NOK 19.6 million in unused funds.

As anticipated by the Royal Court in its statement on the annual accounts submitted for 2020, there was a calculated deficit in the accounts for 2021. This deficit amounts to NOK 4 704 497. Due to the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of measures could not be carried out during 2020, and these were completed in 2021. More than NOK 8 million have been used for renovation and maintenance projects in connection with the Royal residences and parks in 2021.

Operating costs for electricity were NOK 3.7 million higher than in 2020, which amounts to an increase of 111 %.

The annual report and accounts of the Royal Court for 2021 have been submitted to the Presidium of the Storting, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, and the Office of the Auditor General of Norway.

In addition to the details given above, I should mention that the royal family had 635 engagements («oppdrag») in 2021. The similar number in 2019 was 723, while in 2020 the number naturally was much lower (381). I am not sure if the number contains the same in 2021 as in 2019, though. In the report for 2019 the expression «offisielle arrangementer» («official arrangements») is used, not «oppdrag».

As usual many orders and medals were awarded during 2021. The section for the recipients of the  Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav lists 17 people, compared to 13 the previous year. King Willem Alexander received the Grand Cross during his visit here, while the Lord Chamberlain Gry Mølleskog was among the three recipients of the Commander with star. 56 people received the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, all classes combined, compared to 89 in 2020 and 57 in 2019.  The Order of Merit «is conferred on foreign and Norwegian nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway». Most of the recipients were diplomats, and some of the orders were awarded to representatives of the Dutch Royal Court in connection with the official visit. No-one received the Medal of St. Olav in 2021, while 47 persons received the King's Medal of Merit, compared to 46 in 2020. The medal is conferred as «a reward for service in the fields of art, science and industry and for outstanding public service».

The King's Commemorative Medal, which is conferred for particularly meritorious service to the king, was in 2021 given to 32 people, compared to only 9 people in 2020.

Previous articles on the subject of the Norwegian Royal Court's annual report:

Downloads of the annual reports for 2005 to 2021 can be found here.

Front cover: © 2021 Simen Løvberg Sund/The Norwegian Royal Court.

30 April 2022

Succession mess in the Royal House of Serbia

On Thursday 28 April 2022 it was revealed that Prince Peter of Serbia, eldest son of the head of the Royal House, Crown Prince Alexander, had renounced his rights to the Serbian throne the previous day.

The question about succession to the Serbian throne is of course only academic interest, as Serbia is a republic and unfortunately the chances of a monarchical restoration are very small. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formally abolished in 1945, and since the 1990s the country has been divided into several independent countries, among them Serbia. So it makes more sense to refer to the Crown Prince and the other members of the Royal House as «of Serbia» and not «of  Yugoslavia». The official website is headlined «The Royal Family of Serbia», by the way.

The information about the renunciation came in form of a message posted by a person named Astrid Beatriz in the Facebook group Royalty Digest Quarterly. The translated statement by Prince Peter said among others that «By the act of abdication, I renounce for myself and all my descendants who were born or will be born in a marital relationship or out of wedlock. I transfer all the rights based on the birthright to the next one born after the eldership, my brother  Kraljevic (prince) Filip, which is an automatic process with this abdication and our sovereign wills; I do not waive the rights arising from the right to inherit the name, member of the Royal House, the title of Prince and all other rights and obligations that law and tradition give and impose on a family member».

The renunciation document was signed in Seville in Spain, where Prince Peter lives and works, with among others his sister Princess Maria Da Gloria of Orleans and Braganza and Duchess of Segorbe, his brother and sister-in-law Prince Philip and Princess Danica as well as representatives of the Orthodox Church of Serbia, as witnesses. Prince Peter said in the statement that he had informed his father the Crown Prince about his decision.

Prince Peter has given no clear reasons for his decisions, but considering the fact that he lives and works in Seville and has shown little interest in role the royal house plays in Serbia, it makes sense that he leaves the future headship to his younger brother Prince Philip, who lives in Belgrade, has married a Serbian woman and who already has produced an heir, Prince Stefan. I was puzzled by the way the renuncation came, as his father was not present when the document was signed. And today we got the following statement from the Crown Prince's Office:


Regarding the most current events in the Royal Family of Serbia’s line of succession, and the withdrawal of HRH Prince Peter from the position of Hereditary Prince, HRH Crown Prince Alexander, as the Head of the Royal Family, issued the following statement:

“Concerning the withdrawal of my oldest son Prince Peter from the line of succession, I wish him all the best for the future, good health, and happiness. I appreciate his honesty regarding the tough decision he made.

This issue was brought to me quickly, while I am abroad, due to previous obligations. Unfortunately, such a crucial and important procedure was not followed properly, in accordance with the tradition and rules of the Royal Family, and the Family Rulebook, which was written in the time of the Kingdom, and which all members of the Royal Family need to follow. This occurrence and procedure did not take place at the Royal Palace, in Serbia, with my presence and authority as the Head of the Royal Family, with the blessing of our Holy Church and with Crown Council participation in the process, but in a foreign country, without a good reason for performing such important matter away from our homeland.

The Royal Family of Serbia will continue to serve the people with dedication, honesty, and loyalty, which is the obligation and duty for us”, stated HRH Crown Prince Alexander. 

The texts of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Serbian Royal Family Book of Rules, 12 September 1909 and the Yugoslavian Royal Family Book of Rules, 5 April 1930 can be found in the important documents section of the official website. The documents used to be at my old website (I was the one who provided the English text of the Constitution to the Crown Prince, by the way), so I will try to get those pages back and running soon.

The documents are of course not legally binding anylonger, but it seems that most members of the Royal House has respected the regulations and the headship of King Peter and later Crown Prince Alexander since the monarchy was abolished in 1945. It is a bit sad that Prince Peter could not show his father more respect and get things sorted out «the right way». The Crown Prince has been subjected to a fait accompli, so some way or another he has to accept his son's decision. But now we have a situation where there is an unilateral and «unconstitutional» renunciation and as of now we don't know if Prince Peter would be willing to respect his father's wishes for a procedure in accordance with the family rules. I really hope the mess will be sorted out eventually.

Updated on Sunday 1 May 2022 at 02.10: One paragraph was edited, as it has come to my attention that no members of the Crown Council was present at the renunciation ceremony after all, cf. Marlene Koenig's updated blog article. She also writes that «Serbia media identified  Nikola Stanovic as the Crown Prince's Chief of Staff.  He is not Crown Prince Alexander's chief of staff. Ljubodrag Grujic, who served as the Crown Prince's Herald, and was present for the ceremony,  is no longer in that official position.»

27 April 2022

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 1, 2022

I received my copy of the lastest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly – no. 1, 2022 – about a month ago. I have been involved in several genealogy projects since then, so my blog was put on hold for a while. I am almost always involved in various genealogy projects, so I guess it is a bad excuse, but I am enjoying my genealogy research so much ...

Anyway ... The editor Ted Rosvall usually stays away from politics in his Editor's Corner, but this time he has made an exception. He has chosen to comment on the ongoing war in Ukraine and ends by writing: «Royalty Digest Quarterly stands behind the Ukrainian people and their brave leaders in their struggle for a free and independent Ukraine». So do I! Most members of «the European Royal Family» have shown sympathy with Ukraine in various ways since the Russian invasion in February. It cannot have been easy for Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, whose family ruled the Russian Empire, which included what is nbow the Russian Federation and Ukraine, for several hundred years, but I think she made her views on the war clear in her statement of 24 February

There are two church-related articles in this issue. Edward W. Hanson shows in his article Royal Priests, Monks and Nuns that quite a few royals, especially members of Catholic families, have taken holy vows throughout the years. The author Edward Hanson is an historian as well as a priest in the Church of England, so I can well understand that he is interested in this topic. Jonathan Iglesias Sancho and Blanca Briones Conzáles on the other hand has written an interesting piece on the relationship between the Romanovs and the Vatican.

The front page gives an illustration of King Gustaf V and Queen Victoria of Sweden, which means that the first issue of 2022 contains the second part of The Bernadottes of Sweden - A Family Album, written by the editor himself. The number of illustrations – 133 in all, if I have managed to count correctly  must be a new record in this series of family albums. In addition there is one page with a genealogical table showing the descendants of King Gustaf V.

Next one out is Michael L. Nash' enjoyable article "Collecting all the Sunshine .....". The First Modern Royal Family, which describes the wedding between Princess Mary (the Princess Royal) and Henry Lascelles (then Viscount Lascelles, later the 6th Earl of Harewood, in 1922.

Then Eric Lowe continues his series Elegant Royals – Some favorites from my collection, before Ove Mogensens tells the story of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in his article series Tombs, Graves and Monuments in Thuringia (part. VI).

Prince Eugen of Sweden (1865–1947) was a well-known artist in Scandinavia and also a well-liked member of the royal family. But perhaps not so well-known outside Sweden, Norway and perhaps also Denmark. He is the topic of Coryne Hall's Little-Known Royals. I really enjoyed my visit to Prince Eugen's Waldemarsudde in Sweden when I visited it back in 2006. I can really recommend it.

Prince Eugen's house and grave at Waldemarsudde. © 2006 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The World Wide Web of Royalty this time brings news of the Imperial, Royal or Princely houses of Austria, Austria-Este, Luxembourg, Prussia, and Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Information about Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentations of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.

2 April 2022

Tjukke Slekta nr. 2, 2021

Siste utgave av medlemsbladet til Sør-Østerdal Slektshistorielag, Tjukke Slekta nr. 2, 2022, kom i posten fredag i forrige uke, bare 10 dager etter forrige utgave. Det betyr at man har tatt litt innpå etterslepet av utgivelser. Jeg har nok organisasjonserfaring til å vite at det av og til dukker opp situasjoner, blant annet utfordringer i styret eller redaksjonen, tilfang av bidrag osv., som forårsaker etterslep. Det er tross alt en forening som bygger på frivillig arbeid. Her vet jeg ingenting om årsaken, men jeg vet at det er snakk om en seriøs forening som gjør så godt den kan og jeg er trygg på at etterslepet vil bli tatt igjen.

Forrige helg tilbrakte jeg på Genea-LAN (LAN-party for slektsforskere), så det er først denne uken jeg har fått anledning til å lese utgaven fra perm til perm. Fra innholdsfortegnelsen:
  • Solveig Glesaaen: Historien om Oline Olsdatter Likvern (1847–1938) fra Sørskogbygda som emigrerte til New Zealand, s. 4–24
  • Frode Myrheim: Bokmelding: Kirkebok for Rendalen 1661–1680 – utgjeven 2020 av Rendalen historielag ved Roger Sæther, s. 25–27.
  • Trond Bækkevold/Ronny Rismyhr Haugen: «Så slo jeg meg på fotografien» - fotografer i Sør-Østerdal, Hamar og Øvre Solør 1858–1925, del 2, s. 28–51.
Forsidebildet – det står også på side 5 – er altså av Oline Olsdatter (1847–1938), som kom fra Sørskogbygda i Elverum og endte opp på i Chertsey på Sørøya i New Zealand. Hun ble gift med irskfødte James O'Connor (1838–1919) og fikk 7 barn med ham. Glesaaen forteller historien til Oline, som kalte seg Olive på New Zealand, og hvordan kontakten med etterkommere ble etablert. I tillegg får vi genealogiske oversikter - fakta om barna og deler av etterslekten, og om barn og barnebarn til Olines foreldre Ole Halvorsen (1811–1901) og Marte Amundsdatter (1811–1857). Så her får vi både personbiografi og genealogi i skjønn forening, og med mange fine illustrasjoner. Artikkelen etterlater seg også en slektsnøtt, da Olines eldre søster Helene Olsdatter Likvern, født 1844, også sies å ha emigrert til New Zealand. Ifølge et innlegg på Facebook-siden til Sør-Østerdal Slektshistorielag 28. mars 2022 befant hun seg ved folketellingen 1865 i Smørviken i Åmot, men her er jeg foreløpig ikke overbevist om at det er snakk om rett person. Uansett så kan jo Helene Olsdatter bli en fortsettelseshistorie i Tjukke Slekta en gang i fremtiden hvis man finner ut hvor det ble av henne.

Artikkelen handler om Olines historie, og for min del er den interessant nok å lese selv om man ikke har tilknytning til slekten eller Sørskogbygda. Artikkelen står fint alene, men man kunne kanskje ha hatt en side om kilder og metoder for å finne slekt i New Zealand og dermed gjort artikkelen mer «allmenn». Så kan man jo fort gå over til en diskusjon om hva et medlemsblad for et slektshistorielag skal inneholde. Foruten nødvendig foreningsstoff  og bokmeldinger så liker jeg både å lese rene slektsartikler eller artikler med kombinasjon av personbiografi og genealogi og artikler der genealogien som presenteres kobles til spesifikke kiler og metodiske problemer. Og selvsagt kan man skrive om bare kilder og metode. Andre artikler kan være personbiografiske, som serien om fotografene i slektshistorielagets nedslagsfelt. Tjukke Slekta har opp gjennom hatt artikler innen alle disse kategoriene, og det setter jeg pris på som leser.

Artikkelserien om fotografene presenterer i del 2 Halvor Pedersen Eggan (1854-1931) og ektefellen Inger Eggan, f. Øverby (1872–1958), som hovedsakelig virket som assistent for sin mann, Georg Hjort (1834–1905) og Agnes Sjølie (1882–1935).

Rendalen Historielag utga i 2020 Kirkebok for Rendalen 1661–1680 med Roger Sæther som redaktør. Utgivelsen er ment som en rett avskrift av kirkeboken, men Frode Myrheim kommer inn på mange feil og mangler i utgivelsen, og beskriver det som «eit arbeid som er gjort med keiva». Det er krass kritikk, men noen ganger er det på sin plass. Ideen om en slik publisert avskrift er jo god, det ligger jo ikke for alle å tyde skrift fra 1600-tallet, så slike avskrifter vil kunne være til hjelp i slektsforskningen. Men den som gjør en slik avskrift må beherske skriften, og avskriften må korrekturleses av andre som er tilstrekkelig kvalifisert.

English summary: This article is about issue no. 2, 2021 of Tjukke Slekta, the newsletter of Sør-Østerdal Slektshistorielag (Sør-Østerdal Genealogical Society).

Sist oppdatert lørdag 2. april 2022 ca. kl. 19.55 (hadde forvekslet Olines mor med Olines farmor).

29 March 2022

UK: Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took place at Westminster Abbey in London today. The funeral service took place on 17 April 2021 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, but only 30 people were allowed to attend due to the pandemic and the Covid-19 protocol. Today around 1800 people were allowed to celebrate the life of Prince Philip, among them numerous members of the British and other European Royal Families. 

In attendance were among others:

United Kingdom
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  • Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
  • The Duke of York
  • Princess Beatrice and Eduardo Mapelli Mozzi
  • Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank
  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex
  • Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn
  • The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and Sir Tim Laurence
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
  • The Duke of Kent
  • Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
(In attendance were also members of Princess Anne's and the late Princess Margaret's family among others.)

  • Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
  • King Philippe and Queen Mathilde
  • Queen Margrethe II
  • Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath El Hassan
  • Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
  • Prince Albert II
The Netherlands
  • King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima
  • Princess Beatrix
  • King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia
  • Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnusson
Former monarchies

  • Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie of Baden
  • Prince Kyril, Prince of Preslav
  • Queen Anne-Marie
  • Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal 
  • Prince Philippos and Princess Nina
  • Landgrave Donatus and Landgravine Floria
  • Prince Philipp and Princess Saskia
  • Princess Margareta (styled Custodian of the Romanian Crown) and Prince Radu of Romania
Serbia (Yugoslavia)
  • Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine 
As earlier announced, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway had to cancel their attendance because the king was not well enough after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

Among the British dignitaries were the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Honourable Dame Eleanor Laing and The Lord Speaker, the Lord McFall of Alcluith, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP and his wife,  the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Andrew Smith and the Lady Mayoress Salma Shah.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle. The Order of Service can be read here.

26 March 2022

Norway: The King and Queen cancel attendance at Prince Philip's memorial service

The Norwegian Royal Court announced yesterday that King Harald and Queen Sonja are not going to attend the Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg at Westminster Abbey, London on Tueday 29 March 2022 after all. King Harald, who tested positive for Covid-19 last Tuesday, has extended his sick leave until Thursday 31 March.

Unfortunately this means that the Norwegian Royal House will not be represented at the memorial service, even though the Crown Prince couple has no scheduled engagements for 29 March.

22 March 2022

Norway: King Harald has tested positive for Covid-19

The Norwegian Royal Court informed today that King Harald has tested positive for Covid-19. According to the court the king is experiencing mild symptoms and will be on sick leave for the next few days. This means that the Crown Prince once again has assumed the role as Regent during the king's illness. The Crown Prince Regent will according to the list of official engagements preside over the Council of State at the Royal Palace on Friday 25 March.

At the time of writing the king is expected to resume his duties on Monday 28 March and will then also attend the Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, London together with Queen Sonja on Tuesday 29 March, but of course the plans could be changed if the king doesn't feel well enough early next week.

Updated on Saturday 26 March 2022 at 18.55 (typo corrected).