Olav V (July 2, 1903 - January 17, 1991) reigned as King of Norway from 1957 to 1991. Born in England, the son of Prince Carl of Denmark and of Princess Maud, (daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom), and given the names and title of Alexander Edward Christian Fredrik, Prince of Denmark, he assumed the name Olav when his father became King Haakon VII of Norway in 1905.
On March 21, 1929, he married Princess Märtha Louise of Sweden (like him, a direct descendant of Josephine de Beauharnais) with whom he had one son, Harald, and two daughters, Ragnhild and Astrid. As exiles during World War II, Crown Princess Märtha and the royal children lived in Washington, D.C., where she struck up a close friendship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She died in 1954, before her husband ascended the throne.
Olav reigned as a king of the people, and became extremely popular. Stories tell of the time he gained a personal exemption from the law that required all drivers to wear a seat belt. But he, like his subjects, stayed in the legendary (in Norway) E-18 traffic jams, even though he could legally use the public transportation lane. During the 1973 energy crisis Norway banned car-driving, but King Olav, not wishing to miss an opportunity to go skiing outside Oslo, took the subway. When he tried to pay for his tickets, the conductor told him that people further back had already paid for him. When a journalist once asked him if he was afraid to walk around unprotected, he answered Why should I be afraid? I have 4 million bodyguards! -- referring to the Norwegian people. King Olav also was a sportsman, he jumped from Holmenkollen ski-jumping hill in Oslo, and also competed in regatas. He won a gold medal in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, in sailing (6m mixed).
The night after he died, Norway saw a great demonstration of mourning as Norwegians lit hundreds of thousands of candles in the courtyard outside the Royal Castle in Oslo, with letters and cards placed amongst them. The National Archives have preserved all these cards. He was nicknamed "Folkekongen" (English: "The people's king".)
Olav's son Harald V succeeded him as King.
In 2004, after extensive research in the archives of all the European royal families, biographer Tor Bomann-Larsen revealed the possibility that Haakon VII might not have been the biological father of Olav. Bomann-Larsen provided non-conclusive, but arguably convincing, evidence that Maud was made pregnant through artificial insemination with the semen of either her doctor, Sir Francis Laking, or his son Guy. Photographs of Guy show a strinking resemblance with Olav. Royalists agree that even if this information should be true, it would not have constitutional consequences for the royal house of Norway.