Norway's crown princess minded surrogate children

December 3, 2012 - 12:33 PM
Germany Norway Royal Child Minding

FILE- Norwegian Crown Pricess Mette-Marit and her husband Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, right, wave to the waiting crowd in Stralsund, northern Germany, in this file photo dated Saturday, June 12, 2010. When friends of Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit couldn't travel to India to welcome their surrogate twins into the world, Crown Princess Mette-Marit stepped in and flew to India to look after the twins until the two fathers could fly out, according to Royal Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen on Monday Dec. 3, 2012, minding the couple's newly born children and being mistaken by hospital staff for a nanny. The princess flew to Delhi on Oct. 23, 2012, after visa problems prevented the children's Norwegian parents from arriving at the hospital in time for the birth.(AP Photo/ddp/Michael Urban, File)

OSLO, Norway (AP) — When friends of Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit couldn't travel to India to welcome their surrogate twins into the world, the royal stepped up, minding the couple's newborns for three days and even being mistaken by hospital staff for a nanny.

In a statement from the Royal Court, the princess described how she had flown to New Delhi on Oct. 23 after visa problems prevented the children's Norwegian parents — a same-sex couple — from arriving at the hospital in time for the birth.

"There are times in life when one finds oneself in a complex situation where there are few or no good solutions," she wrote.

"For me the core of the matter was that there were two newborn babies who lay alone in a hospital in Delhi. I was the one who was able to travel. It was important to me to help in any way I could."

She stayed to mind the babies until relatives — and eventually also the two fathers — could get to the hospital.

One of the men is an employee of the royal household and a good friend of Mette-Marit's. The twins arrived in Norway last week. Hagen did not identify the couple or give the genders of the babies.

The court said the travel was paid out of the princess' private funds.

Mette-Marit, 39, became Crown Princess of Norway and the country's future queen after she married Crown Prince Haakon in 2001. They have two children, and Mette-Marit has another child from a previous relationship.

Marianne Hagen, a spokeswoman for the Royal Court, said that despite Mette-Marit's title, her royal status does not exempt her from other countries' visa regulations and the princess was also required to seek one for her visit to India. "If a visa is required, then it's also required for a crown princess," Hagen said.

She also confirmed that staff at the Indian hospital had mistaken the royal for a nanny.

Surrogacy is illegal in Norway, but it is not illegal to seek a surrogate mother abroad and bring the child back to the Nordic country.

The loophole has sparked a debate in Norway, but the princess said her reason for traveling to India was purely personal and that her trip "was not intended to be a contribution to this debate."

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Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, Sweden, contributed to this report.