Her Highness Princess Astrid
Her Highness Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner was born at Villa Solbakken in Oslo on 12 February 1932. She is the second child of King Olav V (1903-1991) and Crown Princess Märtha (1901-1954).
At an extraordinary meeting of the Council of State after the birth of the princess, King Haakon VII announced that she would be given the name Astrid Maud Ingeborg. She was named Astrid Maud Ingeborg after her aunt, Queen Astrid of Belgium, and her two grandmothers, Queen Maud of Norway and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden.
Princess Astrid is not entitled to succeed to the Throne.
Princess Astrid spent her early years in the peaceful surroundings of Skaugum Estate, near Oslo. However, this came to an abrupt end on 9 April 1940, when German troops invaded Norway. To avoid being taken into custody by the occupying forces, the Royal Family, the Government and most members of the Norwegian Storting escaped from Oslo by train.
When they reached Elverum, Crown Prince Olav and his family parted company. Crown Princess Märtha and the three children, Princess Ragnhild, Princess Astrid and Prince Harald, fled to safety across the border to Sweden. After several months in Sweden, the Crown Princess and her children travelled to the USA by sea. While King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav had their base in London, the Crown Princess lived with the children in the outskirts of Washington, DC, until 1945, when peace was declared.
When she returned to Norway following WWII and five years in exile, Princess Astrid enrolled in Nissen girls’ school. She completed upper secondary school in 1950 and then studied economics and political history for two years at Oxford University. Later she also learned dressmaking and cooking at schools in Norway. In addition, she pursued her interest in handicrafts and studied ceramics with the renowned artist Halvor Sandøs.
When Crown Princess Märtha died in 1954, the 22-year-old Princess Astrid assumed the role of First Lady. She also assumed responsibility for Crown Princess Märtha’s Memorial Fund, a duty which remains a key focus of her activities.
Princess Astrid also attended major celebrations around the country, either accompanying the King and Crown Prince or alone as the representative of the Royal Family. During official state visits and other events she acted as hostess for banquets held at the Royal Palace and Skaugum Estate. After the death of King Haakon, Princess Astrid accompanied King Olav on his consecration tours.
The Princess continued as First Lady until 1968, when then Crown Prince Harald married Miss Sonja Haraldsen.
In 1961 Princess Astrid married Mr Johan Martin Ferner (born 22 July 1927) in Asker Church. King Olav decided by royal resolution that after her marriage the Princess’s title would be Her Highness Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner. Johan Martin Ferner died 24 January 2015.
Princess Astrid and her husband had five children: Mrs Cathrine Ferner Johansen, born 22 July 1962, Ms Benedikte Ferner, born 27 September 1963, Mr Alexander Ferner, born 15 March 1965, Ms Elisabeth Ferner, born 30 March 1969, and Mr Carl-Christian Ferner, born 22 October 1972.
Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner continues to represent His Majesty The King and the Royal Family, undertaking several official engagements each year. The Princess chairs the board of directors of Crown Princess Märtha’s Memorial Fund. She is also an active patron of a number of organisations. She devotes particular attention to activities relating to children and adolescents with dyslexia, and is regularily in contact with Dissimilis.
In 2002 the Government granted the Princess an honorary pension in recognition of her all her efforts on behalf of Norway both during and following her years as First Lady.