Maud of Wales was a notable figure in the history of the Norwegian monarchy.
As the wife of King Haakon VII, she served as Queen of Norway from 1905 until her death in 1938.
This article explores her life and legacy, from her early years as a member of the British royal family to her reign as queen consort of Norway.
Early Life and Education
Maud of Wales was born on November 26, 1869, at Marlborough House in London. She was the third daughter and fifth child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Alexandra, Princess of Wales.
Her father was the eldest son of Queen Victoria, while her mother was the eldest daughter of Christian IX of Denmark.
Maud of Wales was christened “Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria” at Marlborough House. She was a tomboyish child who was known as “Harry” to the royal family.
Maud took part in almost all the annual visits to the Princess of Wales’s family gatherings in Denmark and later accompanied her mother and sisters on cruises to Norway and the Mediterranean.
Princess of Denmark
Maud of Wales married her first cousin, Prince Carl of Denmark, on July 22, 1896, in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.
Prince Carl was the second son of Queen Alexandra’s eldest brother, Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, and Princess Louise of Sweden.
The bride’s father gave them Appleton House on the Sandringham Estate as a country residence for her frequent visits to England.
Prince Carl served as an officer in the Royal Danish Navy, and he and his family lived mainly in Denmark until 1905. In June 1905, the Norwegian Storting dissolved Norway’s 91-year-old union with Sweden and voted to offer the throne to Prince Carl of Denmark.
Following a plebiscite in November, Prince Carl accepted the Norwegian throne as King Haakon VII, while his young son was renamed Olav. King Haakon VII and Queen Maud were crowned at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on June 22, 1906.
Queen of Norway
As Queen of Norway, Maud played a strong and dominant role within the court and family but a discreet role in public. She quickly adapted to her new country and duties as a queen consort.
Maud supported charitable causes, particularly those associated with children and animals, and gave encouragement to musicians and artists. She supervised the upgrade of the stables of the royal palace in Oslo and was greatly inspired by the Royal Mews in London when the stables were expanded.
Maud continued to regard Great Britain as her true home even after her arrival in Norway, and she visited Great Britain every year. She mostly stayed at her Appleton House, Sandringham, during her visits.
She did, however, also appreciate some aspects of Norway, such as the winter sports, and she supported bringing up her son as a Norwegian. She learned to ski and arranged for English gardens at Kongsseteren, the royal lodge overlooking Oslo, and at the summer residence at Bygdøy.
Death and Legacy
Maud died unexpectedly of heart failure on November 20, 1938, six days before her 69th birthday and on the 13th anniversary of her mother’s death.
Norwegian newspapers were allowed to break the law forbidding publication on Sundays in order to notify the Norwegian public of her death. Queen Maud was buried in the royal mausoleum at Akershus Castle in Oslo.
Her legacy lives on in several places and things named after her, including Queen Maud Land and Queen Maud Mountains in Antarctica; Queen Maud Secondary School in Hong Kong; and Queen Maud Gulf (including Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary).
*Image: ukjent / unknown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons