Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, heir apparent to the throne of Norway, met his future wife Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby at a garden party.
When the public caught wind of the relationship, there was quite a bit of public outcry; Mette-Marit was an unwed mother and known to have been involved in the rave scene. Making matters more difficult, the father of her young son was convicted of drug related offences.
Mette-Marit was snapped heading to work at her friend’s clothing store shortly after she became known as the prince’s girlfriend.
Despite all of the controversy, Haakon and Mette-Marit decided to move into an Olso apartment together. This was quite a departure from tradition and Prince Haakon admitted the decision was hard on his father the King. However, this all turned out to be a careful strategy set up to help introduce Mette-Marit to royal life. They announced their engagement on January 21, 2000 and sat down for an interview.
Along with her conservative skirt suit, Mette-Marit wore a flower accessory in her hair (so cute) and had her first balcony appearance.
When he proposed, Prince Haakon presented Mette-Marit with a meaningful heirloom engagement ring. The ring was originally his paternal grandmother Crown Princess Martha Louise’s engagement ring.
Here is a portrait of on the day their engagement was announced in 1929. The couple became engaged during the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
The ring was then passed onto Crown Prince Harald to give to Sonja Haraldsen (the current King and Queen of Norway). Interestingly, Sonja was a commoner like Mette-Marit and though there were fears that she would not be accepted as a royal, the Norwegian people quickly warmed to her. Here is a picture of the young couple:
In keeping with this tradition, the ring was passed onto Mette-Marit. Here it is on her finger during the engagement announcement:
The ring is very unique in design and is composed of diamonds and two crescent shaped rubies set in yellow gold.
A few days before the wedding, Mette-Marit addressed her past in a televised press conference. She was tearful when speaking about her past and is now well loved by the Norwegian people.