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Oppdatert 02.04.2002 11:53

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Hailed as repentant Cinderella

Publisert 23.08.2001 23:58

Norwegians applauded the fiancee of Crown Prince Haakon on Thursday for confessing to a wild past before her wedding on Saturday and rated her well-suited to be Norway's queen.

Tearful

Norwegian media, rarely critical of the royal family, lavished praise on 28-year-old Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby for tearfully admitting on Wednesday that she regretted a rebellious, partying youth and saying she now condemned drugs.

"Honest and Brave," the top-selling daily Verdens Gang said
in a front-page headline quoting King Harald.

"Brave Mette-Marit," chimed the rival tabloid Dagbladet.

"Cleared the air before the party," echoed the daily
Aftenposten.

Tjessem Hoiby, who has a four-year-old son from a previous
relationship with a man who has convictions for drug offences, had previously refused to talk about her past.

Suited to become queen

She will marry Haakon on Saturday in a grand ceremony in Oslo cathedral. In an opinion poll taken after her confession at a palace news conference sitting beside Prince Haakon, Verdens Gang said 70 percent of Norwegians reckoned Tjessem Hoiby, a student and former waitress, was suited to be Norway's queen.

Just 17.5 percent said she was not suited, with others
undecided. And 84 percent rated as positive Hoiby breaking the silence about her past, even though she gave scant details.

Broken

Tjessem Hoiby said she had repeatedly broken accepted norms
in the 1990s and attended wild parties. She said she now
condemned narcotics but did not spell out whether she had abused them herself.

Verdens Gang said 39.5 percent of the 509 people polled had
a more positive impression of the Crown Prince's fiancee after the revelations, against 41.5 percent who said their impressions were unchanged.

Cinderella

Some Norwegians hail Tjessem Hoiby as a modern Cinderella, the youngest of four children from an ordinary family from the southern Norwegian town of Kristiansand.

But others say the monarchy will lose its mystique if its
members are too much like ordinary citizens. The couple have
been living together in an Oslo flat since last year, upsetting traditionalists opposed to cohabitation.

Record low

An opinion poll in June showed the popularity of the
monarchy has fallen to a record low with just 58 percent
backing, down from a historic average since World War Two of
75-80 percent.

King Harald caused a stir in 1968 when he married a commoner, Sonja Haraldsen, who is now queen.

By Alister Doyle, Reuters


 
 
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