Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been diagnosed with chronic lung disease. The royal court confirmed the news in a statement on Wednesday saying that “an unusual variant of fibrosis has been detected” in the royal’s lungs.
Pulmonary fibrosis causes a person’s lungs to become scarred and makes breathing increasingly difficult over time. The disease usually affects people aged 50-70, making the princess’s diagnosis particularly rare.
Mette-Marit, 45, also released a personal statement on Wednesday, saying that she has been dealing with “health challenges on a regular basis” for years.
“For a number of years, I have had health challenges on a regular basis, and now we know more about what these are,” the princess said in the statement.
The royal said she and her husband Crown Prince Haakon had decided to make her diagnosis public as her royal schedule would need to be adjusted to account for future treatment and daily management of her condition.
Despite her condition, Mette-Marit, who is being treated at Oslo University Hospital, also spoke of her determination to carry on her royal duties as normal as possible.
“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 program as much as possible.”
In the statement, the royal court said it is “not yet clear” whether her fibrosis is connected to “a more extensive autoimmune disease process” or other underlying causes. But the princess’s doctor, Professor Kristian Bjøro, did reveal that the early diagnosis will give the mother-of-three a more positive prognosis.
“The Crown Princess will have to undergo further investigation in the future and also treatment trials,” he said.
The news comes after Mette-Marit confirmed in January that she was suffering from vertigo, which can cause loss of balance, dizziness and nausea.
She explained to Norwegian radio station P3, at the time, how the illness manifested, reportedly saying: “I turned my head quickly, and it was like the whole world began to move. I began to sweat and felt nauseous – I thought I’d started early menopause.”
Princess Mette-Marit met Prince Haakon at a music festival in 1999. At the time, she was a single mother to son Marius, now 21. The couple announced their engagement the following year, and married in 2001.
They have since welcomed two children, Princess Ingrid Alexander, 14, and Prince Sverre Magnus, 12.