Princess Ingrid starts her first day at new school
Published: 19 Aug 2014 10:02 GMT+02:00 …
Ingrid Alexandra starts 5th grade at OIS, while Prince Sverre Magnus starts 4th grade at Oslo Montessori school in Skådalen.
When it was revealed the Crown Prince couple wanted to take their two children out of public school, preferring private schools, their choice was met by criticism and dispute.
OIS is one of the most expensive private schools in Norway, and after one year, the Crown Prince couple will have paid more than 200,000 NOK to the school.
A parliament representative from the Labour Party, Martin Kolberg, stated their choice of school is the beginning of the end for the monarchy. In a survey conducted by Norstat for NRK, three out of ten Norwegians said they are critical to the change of schools by the Royal family.
Harald Stanghelle, political editor of Aftenposten, wrote in an article published last weekend that the school choice “struck a nerve with the Norwegian public. The decision hurt parents and made them react by writing articles defending public schools.”
Should Norway abdicate its royalty?
Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:00 am
OSLO, Norway — Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon shocked and disappointed his nation this summer when he announced plans to take his youngest prince and princess out of public schools and send them to private ones in the coming school year.
In egalitarian Norway, the choice for the further education of 10-year-old Princess Ingrid Alexandra and 8-year-old Prince Sverre Magnus seemed a denunciation of the education of the rest of the children in this wealthy nation of only 5 million. But while a fuss over moving royals from classes with common children might seem a non-issue in the non-royal United States, it actually gets at a single question about much of the remaining royalty of Europe: Why?
The fact that this happened the same summer that Spanish King Juan Carlos, he and his family dogged by scandal, abdicated the throne, meant that once again, in a post-“divine right” world, Europeans were asking themselves exactly what is the point of having royalty these days? There was a pause, though brief, after the abdication when a few commentators and some politicians were wondering why Spain still has a royal family, before his son Felipe — Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbon y de Grecia — was soon named King Felipe VI, the new ruler of Spain.
Likewise, in Norway, where vast oil wealth has made many citizens feel as if they’re all born to privilege, opponents of a continuing royal tradition saw the minor scandal as a sign that their efforts might gain traction, someday.
As Norwegian journalist and author of a book on the local royalty Kjetil Bragli Alstadheim noted: “When Spain fails at soccer in the World Cup they get rid of the coach and start a worldwide search for his replacement. There would be a national, even an international, uproar if they just gave the job to the old coach’s child. They search because it matters, and they want the best person in the job.
“But when King Juan Carlos abdicates, after a bit of scandal, they turn to his son?”
He shook his head, but noted that the answer in Spain was what it would have been in Norway. European nations keep saying yes, turn to the kid.
Norwegian historian Finn Erhard Johannessen, from the University of Oslo, said supporting a royal family remained a source of pride in his nation but that there were limits.
“Norwegians like having a royal family,” he said. “But they don’t want them to act too royally.”
Polls indicate that about 4 of 5 Norwegians back the monarchy, though most of those essentially with a “why not?” instead of undying passion for the institution.
Johannessen said Norwegians thought their royals were nice people. Part of that is living like anyone else.
“People want the royal children to be in school with the children of immigrants,” he noted.
Anders Folkestad, the head of Norway’s teachers union, told local media that the move sends a bad message: “Does it say private schools are better than public? Must one go to an international school to learn English?”
This isn’t the first, or the most serious, threat to royalty in this land of Viking plunder and dramatic fjords. King [Haraldr] Fairhair couldn’t convince the woman he loved that he was worthy until he unified the place by conquering a network of small kingdoms about 1100 years ago. In 1814, fearing war with the “great powers of Europe” and already at war with Sweden, Norwegians adopted a constitutional monarchy and actually elected the king of Sweden as the king of Norway.
During World War II, King Haakon VII famously said “for my part I cannot accept” Nazi occupation, and ended up in exile. (As is the case with sagas, there have since been questions on whether that’s the whole story, and assertions that he also negotiated a bit with those same Nazis.)
For leading socialist Storting Chamber member (Norway’s parliament) Heikki Eidsvoll Holmas, the royal family should be gone. Every four years, his party puts together a new proposal on doing away with the monarchy, and every four years the Storting Chamber laughs it off and goes back to counting the nation’s oil and gas royalties.
This year, though, he thinks that the proposal they’re putting together to submit next year might be different. In July, just before leaving on the obligatory monthlong summer break for Norwegians, Holmas pointed to the walls of parliament and noted — rather optimistically — that with the portrait of the current king, Harald V, there’s room for only one more royal portrait on the walls of the cavernous building.
“Surely in my lifetime we will see an end to an inherited monarchy,” he predicted.