Crown Princess Märtha of Sweden (2nd from right) in 1944, with (from left to right) her husband Crown Prince Olav, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, and Thomas J. Watson (National Archives/public domain)
Royal Treatment, Royal Pain

Am I alone in finding the American romance with European kings and queens, princes and princesses more than slightly odd? For reasons that I find inexplicable, many of our fellow citizens can’t seem to get enough of royalty, whether in film, print, or televised interviews such as Oprah’s latest triumph featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, known to an adoring public as Harry and Meghan.

The newest offering on the celebrated PBS series Masterpiece offers yet another example of this phenomenon, this one centered on the travails of Norway’s royal family during World War II. The eight episodes of Atlantic Crossing invite viewers to consider the “based on actual events” possibility that a close friendship between Crown Princess Martha of Norway and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a.k.a., the Squire of Hyde Park, made a vital contribution to the eventual Allied victory over Germany in World War II.

I confess to having made it only through Episode 1. With little princelings in tow, Martha flees Norway when the Nazis invade in 1940. Assisted by a retinue of loyal servants (who abandon their own children), she makes a daring escape into Sweden, land of her birth. Although further adventures will follow on successive Sunday evenings, I am already calling it quits. In future episodes, Martha will sail for America to take up residence in the White House as FDR’s personal guest and, if we are to believe the promotional materials prepared for the series, trusted counsellor.

So move over Harry Hopkins, George Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton, and Douglas MacArthur. For God’s sake, move over Winston Churchill! Make room in America’s pantheon of wartime heroes for an attractive princess-in-exile to whom FDR ostensibly took a fancy.

Read the full article in The American Conservative.

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