By Michael Baadke
Norway’s King Haakon VII was born Christian Frederik Carl George Valdemar Axel (known as Prince Carl) on Aug. 3, 1872, in Charlottenlund Palace, north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Though Norway was at the time linked with Sweden, it maintained many of the strong cultural ties established during its earlier lengthy union with Denmark.
Prince Carl was the second son of King Frederick VIII and Queen Louise of Denmark, and the younger brother of Christian X, who would become king of Denmark following the death of their father in 1912.
When Norway achieved separation from Sweden in 1905, the parliament offered Prince Carl the throne because he was directly descended from the independent kings of Norway. The last independent king of Norway had been King Haakon VI (1340-1380), and Prince Carl was crowned King Haakon VII on Nov. 27, 1905.
King Haakon VII is remembered for his strong stand against the Nazi invaders during World War II and his refusal to abdicate. Forced to leave the country when Norway was occupied, he remained defiant and broadcast speeches to his countrymen from London.
Following Germany’s defeat, Haakon VII and his family returned to Norway on June 7, 1945, after five years in exile. The king died Sept. 21, 1957, and has been honored on many Norwegian stamps, including the 1-krone dark green issue of 1937 (Scott 177).