Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner

Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner (Astrid Maud Ingeborg; born 12 February 1932) is the second daughter of King Olav V and his wife, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway. She is the older sister of King Harald V of Norway and younger sister of the late Princess Ragnhild.

Princess Astrid was born on 12 February 1932 at Villa Solbakken to the future King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha. She was christened in the Palace Chapel on 31 March 1932 and her godparents were: her paternal grandparents, King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway; her maternal grandparents, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden; her maternal aunt, Princess Astrid, Duchess of Brabant; Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother); Princess Thyra of Denmark; Prince Eugen of Sweden; and Prince George of the United Kingdom. Princess Astrid was named after the popular maternal aunt, paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother.[1]

Princess Astrid grew up on the royal estate of Skaugum in Asker and was privately educated during her childhood. During World War II, she joined her family fleeing the Nazis and spent the war with her mother, brother and sister in exile in Washington, DC.[2] Following the royal family's return to Norway she attended Nissen's Girls' School and graduated with the examen artium university entrance exam in 1950.[3] She then studied economics and political history for two years at Oxford University.

The princess later learnt other skills including dressmaking and cooking and pursued her interests in handicrafts. Princess Astrid studied ceramics with the renowned artists Halvor Sandøs.

Princess Astrid's mother died on 5 April 1954 after battling cancer at age 53 when Astrid was 22 years old.[citation needed] After her mother's death, Queen Ingrid of Denmark became a great support for Astrid and her siblings.[4][better source needed] From her mother's death until her brother's marriage in August 1968, Princess Astrid was the senior lady of the court and acted as first lady of Norway, working side-by-side with her father on all representation duties, including state visits.[1] Princess Astrid raised her family in Vinderen; she now lives in Nordmarka, Oslo. Her hobbies include knitting, embroidery, reading and painting porcelain.

In 2002 the Government granted the Princess an honorary pension in recognition of all her efforts on behalf of Norway both during and following her years as first lady.[5] In 2005, she took part in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, including the unveiling of a plaque marking the Norwegian monarch's exile in London.[6]

In February 2012, Princess Astrid celebrated her 80th birthday with a private dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo.[7]

Princess Astrid married divorced commoner Johan Martin Ferner in Asker on 12 January 1961. Together, the couple have five children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.[8]

Princess Astrid is chair of the board of Crown Princess Märtha’s Memorial Fund which provides financial support to social and humanitarian initiatives carried out by non-governmental organisations.[9]

She is a patron of several organizations and participates in their activities with great interest. She has been particularly involved in work for children and young people with dyslexia, herself having had a hard time during her childhood and youth due to that condition.

Princess Astrid has been awarded the following orders and decorations:[11]

Astrid is a great-granddaughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and thus a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II. At the time of her birth, she was 18th in the line of succession to the British throne.