Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has been diagnosed with a lung disease at the age of 45. The Royal Court of Norway revealed the royal's chronic pulmonary fibrosis in a statement released on Wednesday (Oct. 24). "The Crown Princess has undergone extensive investigations related to her health and an unusual variant of fibrosis has been detected in the lungs, according to the Crown Princess’s doctor, Professor Kristian Bjøro at the National Hospital. It is not yet clear whether the pulmonary disease is linked to a more extensive autoimmune disease process or if there are other causes that underlie the lung changes."
The future queen also made her own statement, explaining how the diagnosis came about and why she and her husband, Crown Prince Haakon, decided to tell the public about her health struggle. "For a number of years, I have had health challenges on a regular basis, and now we know more about what these are in. The condition means that the working capacity will vary. The Crown Prince and I choose to inform about this now, partly because in future there will be a need to plan periods without the official program. In connection with treatment and when the disease is more active, this will be necessary."
The mother of three - 21-year-old Marius Borg Høiby from a previous marriage, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 14, and Prince Sverre Magnus, 12 - is hopeful that catching the disease early will mean she can continue life as usual as much as possible. She added: "Although such a diagnosis in times will limit my life, I’m glad that the disease has been discovered so early. My goal is still to work and participate in the official programme as much as possible."
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also released a statement for the princess, saying, “Today, I send warm thoughts to Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Now it is important that the Crown Princess receives good treatment, is closely followed up and receives much care.” The royal will be treated at Oslo University Hospital by a combination of local doctors and specialists from abroad.
According to the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, the condition is characterized by the stiffening and scarring or lung tissue that increasingly limits the ability of the lungs to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. In the spring, Mette-Marit cancelled a string of engagements to undergo surgery, though it wasn't revealed what the treatment was for. "Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess has had health problems for some time and will next Monday undergo a minor surgical procedure," said a statement at the time. "This means that the Crown Princess will be off duty until Easter. Therefore, on the advice of her doctor, the planned trip to Leipzig on Saturday will be cancelled.”