King George VI of the United Kingdom, King Haakon VII of Norway, King Olaf V of Norway, Maud of Norway, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Princess Maud, Princess Maud of Wales, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, Sandringham Estate
Queen Maud never lost her love of Britain, but she quickly adapted to her new country and duties as a queen consort. Maud played a strong and dominant role within the court and family, but a discreet role in public. During her first years in Norway, she and her spouse were photographed in Norwegian folk costumes, and enjoying winter sports such as skiing, to give them a Norwegian appearance in the eyes of the public.
She disliked representation but performed her role as a queen with great care, and used clothes and jewellery to make a regal impression. She supported charitable causes, particularly those associated with children and animals, and gave encouragement to musicians and artists. Among her projects was Dronningens Hjelpekomité (the Queen’s Relief Committee) during World War I.
She supported the feminist Katti Anker Møller’s home for unwed mothers (1906), which was regarded as radical, designed furniture for the benefit of the Barnets utstilling (Children’s Exhibition) in 1921, and sold photographs for charitable purposes. An avid horseback rider, Maud insisted that the stables of the royal palace in Oslo be upgraded. Queen Maud supervised much of this project herself and was greatly inspired by the Royal Mews in London when the stables were expanded.
Maud continued to regard Great Britain as her true home even after her arrival in Norway, and visited Great Britain every year. She mostly stayed at her Appleton House, Sandringham, during her visits. She did, however, also appreciate some aspects of Norway, such as the winter sports, and she supported bringing up her son as a Norwegian.
She learned to ski and arranged for an English gardens at Kongsseteren, the royal lodge overlooking Oslo, and the summer residence at Bygdøy. She is described as reserved as a public person but energetic and with a taste for practical jokes as a private person. Her influence over her spouse and politics is not much examined, but she is described as a forceful and dominant person within the royal court, though her public role was less visible.
Queen Maud’s last public appearance in Britain was at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937 at Westminster Abbey. She sat in the royal pew at Westminster Abbey next to her sister-in-law Queen Mary and her niece Mary, Princess Royal, as part of the official royal party.
Maud also acquired a reputation for dressing with fashionable chic. An exhibition of numerous items from her elegant wardrobe was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005 and published in the catalogue Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway’s Wardrobe 1896–1938.
Maud came to England for a visit in October 1938. Initially she stayed at Sandringham, but then moved into a hotel in London’s West End. She became ill and was taken to a nursing home, where an abdominal operation was performed on 16 November 1938. King Haakon immediately travelled from Norway to her bedside.
Although she survived the surgery, Maud died unexpectedly of heart failure on November 20, 1938, six days before her 69th birthday (and on the 13th anniversary of her mother’s death). Norwegian newspapers were allowed to break the law forbidding publication on Sundays in order to notify the Norwegian public of her death. King Haakon returned Appleton House to the British Royal Family.
Her body was returned to Norway on board HMS Royal Oak, the flagship of the Second Battle Squadron of the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet. Her body was moved to a small church in Oslo before the burial. Queen Maud was buried in the royal mausoleum at Akershus Castle in Oslo. At her death, Queen Maud was the last surviving child of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.