Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Norway: Royal lineage doubts debunked

A historian at the University of Oslo is throwing cold water on another author's theory that Norway's King Haakon wasn't the biological father of his son Olav. He has few doubts over the Norwegian royal lineage. Bomann-Larsen notes in his book that there was intense speculation in the early 1900s over the parentage of the little boy who became Norway's King Olav V. Prince Carl and Princess Maud of Denmark (who later became King Haakon and Queen Maud of Norway) had been childless for years before the boy was born and top Norwegian officials later probed (and dashed) persistent rumors that Prince Carl was homosexual.

Bomann-Larsen tracked records of a lengthy and secret stay by Princess Maud at a private clinic in London in the autumn before the baby was born in July of the following year. A physical separation between Maud and Prince Carl at the time raised questions, Bomann-Larsen argues, over whether Prince Carl could have fathered the child. Instead, the author raises the possibility that Maud's doctor succeeded in an early form of artificial insemination, resulting in the birth of Olav the next summer. The family of three later moved to Norway to take over as the country's first modern royal family after Norway won sovereignty in 1905, something that never would have happened if they hadn't had a royal heir. Storsveen, however, claims he can't find adequate sourcing for Bomann-Larsen's "hypothesis" that Olav wasn't the son of King Haakon. "King Olav's descendants can take it easy," Storsveen says, referring to today's royal family in Norway, and adding that Bomann-Larsen's claims lack credibility.


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