7 July 2013

The Crown Princess Märtha statue outside Asker Church, Norway

The statue of Crown Princess Märtha with her son Prince Harald, now King Harald V, on her arm was made by sculptor Dyre Vaa (1903-1980).

Princess Märtha of Sweden (and of Norway until 1905) (1901-1954) married the then Crown Prince Olav of Norway (1903-1991) at Our Saviour's Church in Oslo in 1929. The couple lived at the Skaugum estate in Asker not far from Asker Church.

The bronze statue was cast in 1959, but first unveiled by King Olav V on 29 August 1969. The original plan was to place the statue in a park planned to be constructed west of Asker, but the statue was finally placed outside Asker Church. The statue is 2,80 m high (including the base the monument is around 5 m high) and the base of the statue is made of syenite.

Present at the unveiling ceremony were besides King Olav and the sculptor also Crown Princess Märtha's siblings Princess Margaretha of Denmark and Prince Carl Bernadotte as well as Crown Prince Harald, Crown Princess Sonja, Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner, Johan Martin Ferner, Cathrine, Benedikte and Alexander Ferner, Prince Georg and Princess Anne of Denmark, Count Flemming and Countess Ruth of Rosenborg and Asker's mayor Jon Fossum.

(To the right when you pass the Southern gate of the cemetery behind the statue one can find the grave of Crown Princess Märtha's eldest daughter Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen (1930-2012).

Sources: Aftenposten 3 March 1959 No. 104, p. 4; Aftenposten 12 June 1969 No. 261, p. 1; Aftenposten 30 August 1969 No. 397, pp. 1 and 18.

Postscript 7 July 2013 at 23:40:  It should be added that Asker og Bærum Leksikon (Encyclopaedia), 2006, p. 355, claims that the statue was unveiled on 28 September 1969 (after being stored since 1958). This is definately wrong, cf. the newspaper references above. However, the entry about the Crown Princess Märtha monument also claim that it is 4 m high (statue + base), while Aftenposten 12 June 1969 No. 261, says it is about 5 m high. I really have no idea. The monument is named "A happy mother to a little boy" and after all the disagremeents over where to place the statue it was King Olav himself who ended the discussion by expressing his wish that the statue should be outside the church.

Updated on 8 JUly 2013 at 13:15 (corrected "main gate" to "Southern gate").

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