Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I should have done my homework first (knowing is half the battle)

This past Saturday I wrote a very short post wishing a happy birthday to the King of Norway. However, I should have done my homework first because it was kindly brought to my attention that addressing him as "Your Highness" was not the proper way to address the king. So, in case you ever have cause to contact the palace, it's good to know the appropriate rules for addressing the royal family.

In this case, my mistake did me some good because it lead to my learning more on the subject. And if we learned nothing else from G.I Joe cartoons of the 1980's, it was that "Knowing is half the battle."

So, anyhow, the ever-awesome Colin Thomsen put together some quick rules for us, so we may show the proper etiquette in the future. Here we go:

The official titles for royal persons fall into two categories. First, those for the King and Queen are His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja, or HM King Harald and HM Queen Sonja. His Majesty the King, HM the King, Her Majesty the Queen and HM the Queen are also acceptable.

Next, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit can be referred to as such, or His Royal Highness The Crown Prince Haakon and Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Both their titles can be abbreviated "HRH," and the shortened forms "HRH Crown Prince Haakon" and "HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit" are in common usage.

So I would have been more correct in my original post had I written it in the 1980's when HM King Harald was still still HRH Crown Prince Harald. But I digress. A lot. You ever notice that about me? Yeah, me too. It's a personality quirk, but what can I do? Wait...did it again. Back to the stuff about the royals.

It should be noted that there is currently an exception to the above rules regarding princesses. HM King Harald decided, upon her marriage to Ari Behn, that his daughter's title would be changed to Princess Martha-Louise. That is to say, she should not be referred to as HRH Märtha-Louise or Her Royal Highness. In this case, "Dear Princess Märtha-Louise" would be perfectly appropriate.

When addressing a member of the royal family directly, the official Norwegian terms would be the equivalent of "Your Majesty" for the King and Queen, and "Your Highness" for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. However we haven't determined if these apply to Princess Märtha-Louise (although Colin thinks not) and moreover, if there's a specific policy for use of these terms in English. We hav have not found it on the royal family webpage or any of the Norwegian embassy pages here or abroad. If you are in a situation where you need absolute certainty, we suggest contacting the embassy in D.C. or the Norwegian Language Council.

This is great information that can come in very handy, so big thanks to Colin for putting it together. Also, does anyone else find it the least bit cool that I was able to combine G.I. Joe cartoons and Norwegian Royalty together in the same post? I love my job.

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