Who shall sit on Norway's throne? For many months prior to the acceptance of the Norwegian crown by Prince Charles of Denmark, now Haakon VII. of Norway, on November 20, 1905, this question had been agitating the minds of the Norwegians. In June of that year, after many meetings between the Swedish and Norwegian Parliaments, it was amicably agreed that the union between the two countries, which had been in existence for close upon a century, should be dissolved. It was recognised on both sides that, with the nationalist movement for independence growing stronger every day in Norway, the union was the cause of much friction between the two peoples.
Thus we had the unique spectacle of a European country searching for a king and queen. There were what might be termed three eligible candidates, Prince Arthur of Connaught, Prince Charles of Sweden, and Prince Charles of Denmark. The first-named, the eldest son of the Duke of Connaught, was not quite twenty-three years of age at the time, and, by the marriage of his sister, Princess Margaret, with the Swedish Crown Prince, was related to the House of Bernadotte. Prince Charles of Sweden is a brother of the present King of Sweden, who, by his marriage to Princess Ingeborg, the daughter of King Frederick of Denmark, became a brother-in-law to Prince Charles of Denmark.
The latter, because he was married to the daughter of an English king and had a son, and because of the cordiality which had always existed between Norway and Denmark, was asked, by a vast majority, to become King of Norway. In 1814, it is interesting to note, the Norwegians elected Prince Christian Frederick of Denmark as their king, but the Powers refused to recognise the election. Prince Charles accepted the crown, and, on November 25, 1905, as Haakon VII., together with his wife, Queen Maud, the third daughter of the late King Edward, and Prince Olaf, their two-year-old son, landed in Norway, and was welcomed with the greatest enthusiasm.
Thus it came about that Princess Maud, as she is still so often called in this country, exchanged what was really a flat near the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen for a palace at Christiania. Not that she personally was ambitious of more exalted rank and greater splendour; for her chief characteristics are shyness, simplicity, and a love of quiet home life. During her first weeks in Christiania she habitually drove up to the back entrance of her palace while the crowd waited at the front. The story has often been told of a remark of hers to a girl friend, when, previous to her marriage, she was wont to travel on the Continent with her favourite German governess as plain "Miss Mills." "What a pity I can't always be Miss Mills," she said; "it's so much more fun than being a princess!"
The "Tomboy" of the Family
Born at Marlborough House on November 26, 1869, Queen Maud was by common consent considered the prettiest and cleverest of King Edward VII.'s three daughters. Her unaffected simplicity and charm, and the sweetness of her disposition, gained for her popularity on all sides. There was a brightness and unconventionality about her manners, too, which appealed to everyone. As a child she was the "tomboy" of the family, always getting into mischief and scrapes.
"You ought to have been a boy, you run so fast," said a visitor to Sandringham one day.
"Oh, I wish I had been," replied the little Princess of seven; "I would have been called Harry. Harry, you know, means swift and sure."
After that she was called Harry by all her immediate relatives for many years, and is still called so sometimes by her sisters.
The following story also illustrates her Majesty's early longing for unconven-tionality. The Royal Family were leaving a London station on a journey to Scotland, and the usual official throng was gathered on the platform. During the formal leave-takings Princess Maud noticed a number of busy reporters, and presently produced a tiny notebook of her own. She scribbled a few words, tore out the leaf, and crumpled it into a ball, which the dropped with ap-parent unconcern . The ball rolled to the feet of one of the pressmen, who quickly picked it up and unrolled it. The Princess had written: "I wish I were a reporter."
"I sometimes get tired of being Royal, especially when I am looked at and wondered at, as though I were one of Madame Tussaud's waxworks. I often think how glorious it must be to be able to jump on the top of a 'bus and have a day out. I have never tried to do yet, but I think I shall some day."
In these few words Queen Maud once sketched her own character more clearly than any biographer could have done in three volumes. Her versatility is strikingly illustrated by her many accomplish-ments. Like her mother, Queen Alexandra, she is skilful with the camera, and understands all the mysteries of developing, 1 printing, and enlarging. She can sail a yacht, pull an oar, skate like a Canadian, has lately learned ski-ing, and is a skilful croquet and tennis-player, While she is never so happy as when driving a dogcart or cycling. Open-air sport of all kinds has always appealed to her Majesty, and as an equestrienne she often imposed upon her brothers, King George and the late Duke of Clarence, tasks of horsemanship in the "follow your leader" fashion that they sometimes found difficult to perform.
Indoors, too, she held her own with them at biliiards. She has also turned out some really beautiful work in the way of wood-carving and bookbinding. Dairy work, too, was for a time a hobby of hers, and in the
Norway. Queen Maud's love of simplicity and kindliness of heart and manner at once endeared her to her sturdy Northern subjects photo, W. S. Stuart model dairy at Sandringham she mastered the mysteries of butter-making.