After weeks of controversy, the engagement between Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, and Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby was finally announced on 1 December 2000. The reason for the controversy was down to the fact the future Crown Princess of Norway was a single mother with a rather lurid past and many Norwegians believed she was not good enough to be their future queen.
There were calls for Haakon to renounce his place in the succession, however his father supported his son’s right to marry the woman he loved. Before the wedding, Mette-Marit bravely took part in a television interview where she spoke candidly of her rebellious teenage years, condemning the use of drugs, and it boosted her public image. Most Norwegians no longer remember the controversy and are unconcerned about Mette-Marit becoming their queen one day.
Haakon presented Mette-Marit with a ruby and diamond engagement ring which had been worn by his grandmother and mother, however she is often seen wearing a triple diamond ring which was also given to her by the prince.
Haakon and Mette-Marit married on 25 August 2001 in Oslo Cathedral in an emotional ceremony which lasted an hour. Haakon waited for his fiancee at the church door and they walked down the aisle together. After the ceremony, the couple appeared with Marius on the balcony of the royal palace in the midst of cannons firing and bands playing.
Mette-Marit’s exquisite wedding dress was designed by Ove Harder Finseth and much of the inspiration came from the wedding dress worn by Queen Maud. The dress, created from ecru silk crepe and silk tulle, had a fitted bodice which flowed into a flared skirt with a two metre train. The silk veil, longer than the skirt, was held in place with a diamond daisy bandeau tiara which was a wedding gift to the bride from her future in-laws.
Instead of the traditional bouquet, Mette-Marit carried a stream of flowers worn on her wrist as a muff. It was comprised of rosary vine, Wanda orchids, hydrangeas, roses, bear grass, and beads interwoven on metal threads.