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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Norway future queen admits wild past
Norway's Crown Prince Haakon with his bride to be, Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby
Crown Prince Haakon will marry Miss Hoiby on Saturday
The future crown princess of Norway has publicly apologised for her wild past, just days before the royal wedding.

The single mother who is about to marry Norway's Crown Prince Haakon spoke about her rebellious days in an emotional press conference on Wednesday.

I know this was very difficult for very many people, and I am sorry for that, but unfortunately I can't make those choices again

Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby
"My youth rebellion was much stronger than many others," said Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby. "That resulted in me living quite a wild life."

Miss Hoiby, mother of four-year-old Marius, has been at the centre of media attention since the crown prince announced he was dating her, 15 months ago.

Drugs condemned

"We overstepped the limits," said a tearful Miss Hoiby. "It was a costly experience for me, that I took a long time to get over."

Norway's King Harald
The king and queen have been very supportive
About half of Norway's first-born children are born to single mothers, and polls show that most Norwegians do not care that Miss Hoiby is a single mother or that the couple chose to live together in an Oslo flat before marrying.

This is despite the fact that when Crown Prince Haakon succeeds King Harald, he will become head of the state Lutheran church, which opposes cohabitation outside matrimony.

I hope that I can now avoid talking more about my past, and that the press will respect this wish

Miss Hoiby
But drugs are frowned on by most Norwegians and the royal family's popularity dropped after reports that Miss Hoiby had attended parties where drugs were used.

"I would like to take this opportunity to say that I condemn drugs," Miss Hoiby said at the press conference, but did not say whether she had taken them herself.

"I cannot make these choices again, even though I would wish I could," she said.

First royal wedding in years

At the end of her remarks, the future crown princess asked the media to leave her past alone.

"I hope that I can now avoid talking more about my past, and that the press will respect this wish."

What we two found together was so strong that I could not let it go

Crown Prince Haakon
In the meantime, Oslo was preparing for its first royal wedding since 1968, when Haakon's parents, King Harald V and then commoner, now Queen Sonja, were wed.

The guests are to include Britain's Crown Prince Charles and Prince Edward, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Denmark's Queen Margrethe II and their families, King Albert II of Belgium, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Spain's Crown Prince Felipe.

The wedding ceremony itself will be held in the Oslo Cathedral on Saturday.

Parents supportive

Crown Prince Haakon said his parents have been very supportive of his relationship with Miss Hoiby.

"What we two found together was so strong that I could not let it go," said the crown prince, who was sitting beside Miss Hoiby during the press conference.

It had taken his father, King Harald, nine years to win the permission of his father, King Olav V, to marry the commoner, Sonja Haraldsen.

Crown Prince Haakon said his parents approved of his choice and had expressed to him that "nine years might have been a bit long to wait".

Miss Hoiby's son, Marius, will never be able to become king under Norway's constitution.

But the young couple have said they plan to make him part of a big royal family.

Vibeke Lialie, Norwegian News Agency
"There is something Diana-like about her"
See also:

30 May 01 | Europe
Courting controversy in Norway
09 Apr 01 | Europe
Norwegians start monarchy debate
21 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Norway
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