The Norwegian royal family bid farewell to Princess Märtha Louise ’s ex-husband Ari Behn on Friday. Among those at the funeral were Ari’s three young daughters Maud Angelica, 16, Leah Isadora, 14, and Emma Tallulah, 11. Maud delivered an emotional eulogy at the service with her mother by her side. Before taking the podium, Maud placed a sketch of her father on top of his coffin, which was intended to be a Christmas present. "We could never imagine that our own father would leave us. It's nobody's fault. We cannot blame ourselves,” the teenager said (via Royal Central). “Suicide is like a deadly disease. Dad must have been so tired that he saw no other way out.”
Märtha was seen fighting back tears as her firstborn spoke, while aunt Crown Princess Mette-Marit and grandfather King Harald appeared visibly moved. In her speech, Maud revealed that her father would say she was a “sparkling diamond” and encouraged others struggling with mental illness to seek help. “Everyone deserves love and joy. It is never a weakness to ask for help but strength,” she said, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. “We wish we could give you a very last hug. We love you, Dad - you're a sparkling diamond, you too.” After her remarks, Maud’s younger sisters came forward to place flowers on their father’s coffin as mom Märtha stood behind them.
Ari’s funeral was held at the Oslo Cathedral on January 3. King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway were among mourners. Prince Daniel of Sweden, as well as Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands were also in attendance. The service came over a week after Ari took his own life on Christmas Day . After his tragic passing, the Norwegian King expressed his “great sadness” in a statement that read: “Ari has been an important part of our family for many years and we carry warm, fond memories of him. We are grateful that we got to know him. We grieve that our grandchildren have now lost their beloved father - and have deep compassion for his parents and siblings, who have now lost their beloved son and brother. We ask that Ari's immediate family get some rest in this painful time.”
The late author and Princess Märtha Louise split in 2016. One year later, Ari accused actor Kevin Spacey of sexual assault. Per The Telegraph, Ari wrote about his struggles with depression and alcohol in his book Inferno, which was published in 2018. “I am yesterday’s news, even though the world has not yet been told,” he said. “I’m a clown, at worst. At best, I am a self-publicist and an actor on the public stage. For many, I’m a fool.”