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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Norway royal bloodline 'British'
Norway's King Olav V
Olav was a symbol of resistance to the Nazis
Norway's current royal family may have stemmed from a secret early example of artificial insemination, using sperm from a British doctor, a new book says.

Author Tor Bomann-Larsen claims the late King Olav V may have been conceived in a hospital in England.

He says Queen Maud may have been impregnated by her doctor, possibly without her knowledge, to cover up for her husband's infertility.

Olav, father of Norway's current monarch King Harald, died in 1991.

He was known as the "People's King" and became a symbol of resistance to Norway's Nazi occupation.

One cannot say precisely who knew what. Maud might not even have known herself
Author Tor Bomann-Larsen

His father was always believed to be King Haakon, a Danish prince who became Norway's first modern king in 1905.

Haakon and Maud had been childless for six years when Olav was born on 2 July, 1903.

Mr Bomann-Larsen says in the 10 months before he was born, Haakon and Maud met only once.

"At the time when the fertilisation normally would have taken place King Haakon was on a marine vessel in Denmark and Queen Maud was lying in hospital in England," the author said on Thursday, as his book "The People" was launched.

Strong resemblance

He believes the queen may have been impregnated with sperm from her British physician, Sir Francis Laking, or his son.

"One cannot say precisely who knew what. Maud might not even have known herself," Mr Bomann-Larsen said.

Although artificial insemination was not common at the time, it was not unprecedented, he says.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet
Dagbladet and other newspapers splashed the story
The claims made the front pages of Norwegian newspapers on Thursday.

The press published pictures showing a strong resemblance between Olav and Laking's son, Guy.

After extensive research into official archives, diaries and letters across Europe, Mr Bomann-Larsen says his theory is only a suspicion based on the evidence, and that it is too early to draw a definite conclusion.

King Harald V responded to the speculation with a statement saying: "The King has no information to suggest that King Olav was not the son of King Haakon."

He also said he supported the right of Mr Bomann-Larsen, like any author, to publish his interpretation of history.

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