Twenty years ago today, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway were married in Oslo. Today, we’ve got a look back at Mette-Marit’s sleek Scandinavian royal wedding jewels.
On August 25, 2001, Crown Prince Haakon married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby at Oslo Cathedral. The couple’s love story was often compared to the fairy tale Cinderella. Crown Prince Haakon will one day inherit the Norwegian throne. Mette-Marit, by contrast, was a waitress and a single mother when she met Haakon at a Norwegian music festival in 1999. When their relationship became public, many Norwegians expressed concerns about Mette-Marit’s past. But Haakon stood firm, supported by his parents, and the couple announced their engagement in December 2000.
More than 100,000 people lined the streets of Oslo on the wedding day. Inside the cathedral, the Bishop of Oslo declared, “A crown prince has a demanding legacy. Only love can transform destiny into a vocation. Only love can transform duty into a gift.” He added, “Mette-Marit, you show courage and faith in saying yes to an unknown future. You are beginning a new chapter, with the pages still unwritten. You do this with dignity. Your love for your son shows both tenderness and determination. As a single mother you have set an example in the way you have cared for your child.” Her four-year-old son, Marius, was a page boy during the ceremony, and posed on the balcony with his mother and stepfather after the ceremony had ended.
For the wedding, Mette-Marit wore a gown made of ivory silk crepe. The long-sleeved gown featured simple lines and no embellishments. Mette-Marit herself had significant input on the design of the gown, working with Ove Harder Finseth and Anna Bratland on the details of the dress. The dress had a short train, and the effect was completed with the 20-foot long veil of silk tulle.
Mette-Marit’s wedding bouquet was one of the most unusual ones carried in recent royal memory. The long cascade of flowers, according to the royal family’s website, included “rosary vine (Ceropegia woodii), Wanda orchids (a Phalaenopsis orchid), hydrangeas, roses in pink and mauve tones, bear grass, beads and metal threads.” Again, Mette-Marit had significant input on the design of the bouquet, which was created by an Oslo-based florist, Aina Nyberget Kleppe.
At the time of the wedding, some publications wrote that the dress was patterned after the wedding gown worn by Queen Maud in 1896, and that the flowers were also a tribute to Maud’s bouquet. Personally, I don’t see the similarities. (You can read more about Maud’s wedding here.) To me, this dress was fresh, modern, and forward-looking, not reminiscent of the past. You can definitely see the remnants of ’90s sleek simplicity in the design, but it’s also very much Mette-Marit’s style. The bouquet also doesn’t look much like Maud’s, although similar flowers may have been used in each design. (The Norwegian royal family’s website takes a middle ground on the “inspiration” discussion, stating that just the skirt of the dress, “flared with a two-metre-long train,” was “inspired by the gowns of Queen Maud.”)
Mette-Marit’s wedding jewels were equally minimal. The major piece she wore on the day was the Diamond Daisy Bandeau, a petite tiara of diamond-set blossoms that was made in 1910. The tiara was a wedding gift from her new parents-in-law, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.
She also wore very small diamond stud earrings and a simple diamond pendant on a silver chain necklace.
Haakon and Mette-Marit exchanged simple wedding bands that were made by a Norwegian jewelry designer, Ester Helén Slagsvold. The rings were a gift to the couple from the Norwegian Association of Goldsmiths.
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