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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Norwegian princess authors wedding upset
Princess Martha Louise and author Ari Behn
Some Norwegians feel the young royals' choice of partners has weakened the monarchy

The small city of Trondheim in Norway is preparing to host the country's second royal wedding in less than a year.


I think Ari is a good man for Princess Martha - I'll be watching from outside the cathedral on Friday

Isabel Moser
11-year-old
Norwegian flags are everywhere and specially selected flowers in green and white decorate all public spaces, in anticipation of Friday's wedding between Princess Martha Louise and author Ari Behn.

More than 500 representatives from international media scurry up and down the street in the sweltering sun, hoping with everyone else the clear blue skies stay until the end of the week.

The official wedding colours - a much-debated combination of mint and pink - are starting to appear in the shape of banners and shop front window decorations.

Short book list

In is only 9 months since Crown Prince Haakon Magnus married Mette Marit in Oslo.

The Crown Prince's choice was seen by many as controversial. Mette Marit was a single mother who admitted to a past where she had been in contact with drugs.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Mette Marit
The Crown Prince also chose a controversial spouse
Now the Crown Prince's sister is facing criticism for her own choice of life partner.

Mr Behn is the author of only one book - the 90 pages long "Sad as Hell".

He hit the headlines in Norway after making a TV documentary in which he was seen partying with prostitutes who were using cocaine.

An opinion poll early this week showed 43% of Norwegian feel the young royals' choice of partners has weakened the monarchy.

Happy to have them

But there is little sign of discontent with the royals and the groom-to-be in Trondheim.


It is great that they chose to come here to marry

Malfrid Riseth
Flower stall owner
This is a small city of 150,000 people, and a large part of society has in some way or other been taking part in the preparations for Friday's event.

All the children of the city have been asked to pick wild white flowers and to decorate the square in front of the Nidaros Cathedral, where the wedding ceremony will take place.

"I think Ari is a good man for Princess Martha. I'll be watching from outside the cathedral on Friday", 11-year-old Isabel Moser told BBC News Online.

In the square between the cathedral and the royal residence, Malfrid Riseth is setting up her flower stall with excitement.

"It is great that they chose to come here to marry," she said.

"And I think Ari Behn is getting better and better, the more we get to know him. I think she's made a good choice."

Trondheim mayor Liv Sandven says she has put most political decision-making aside this week.

"It's a hectic and happening week. Yesterday we had a meeting on oil policies, but apart from that it has been all about the wedding", she said while trying on her new ballroom gown in green Thai silk.

Wedding cake in danger

Not all preparations have gone smoothly though.

Last week a strike by hotel and catering staff threatened both the wedding cake and accommodation for royalty and other guests alike.

But agreement was reached just in time, so by Friday Norway will be able to enjoy what is probably the last royal wedding of this generation - cake and all.

See also:

25 Aug 01 | Europe
30 May 01 | Europe
09 Apr 01 | Europe
21 May 01 | Country profiles
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