Maud Angelica Behn (16) paid tribute to her father in a poignant memorial speech during the funeral in Oslo Cathedral and urged others with dark thoughts to seek help.
The tones of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” on the violin began Ari Behn’s funeral in a crowded Oslo cathedral on Friday. Attending the cathedral were Behn’s family and friends, the entire royal family and a number of top politicians.
Behn’s parents and sibling made memorial speeches in the church. So did his and Princess Märtha Louise’s daughter Maud Angelica Behn, 16, on behalf of herself and her two younger sisters. In the powerful speech, she thanked her father and showed a drawing that she intended to give him for Christmas.
“Now I will never be able to see your cozy smile and your kind eyes again. And I will never be able to give you the best drawing of you so far,” she said, pointing to the drawing of Behn, which also adorned the program for the funeral.
There’s always a way out
The artistic 16-year-old told that she had a close relationship with her father, whom she described as good at complimenting her and her sisters, and had belief that they could handle everything.
Maud Angelica Behn also explained how sad she is that her father decided to leave. He struggled with mental health problems for many years, and it has been difficult for her and her sisters, she said.
The 16-year-old encouraged others who have dark thoughts to seek help.
“Pappa must have been so weary that he hadn’t felt any other way than to leave this world,” she said.
“There I think he was wrong. There is always a way out. I want to tell everyone that there is always a way out, even if it doesn’t feel that way. People want to help, you can get help, and it can get better,” she added.
Maud Angelica Behn’s speech touched the nearly 800 people who took part in the funeral, and people sobbed and wept throughout the church. The representatives of the royal house were also clearly touched.
Sermon on light and dark
In her sermon, Oslo Bishop Kari Veiteberg also emphasized the importance of helping each other and speaking loud and true about both darkness and light.
“The way is difficult. Let’s help each other in the days that come with the pursuit of glimpses and experiences of faith, hope, and love in our lives and to speak true of both darkness and light. We must do our best to prevent such things from happening again,” the bishop said.
“The light you need can be found. We can also repeat that in defiance, in faith and in hope,” she said further.
Ari Behn (47) took his own life on Christmas Day. At the funeral, several hymns associated with Christmas were sung, such as Det hev ei rose sprunge, Et barn er født i Betlehem, and Deilig er jorden.
At the funeral there were several cultural and musical elements of Behn’s close friends, including music by Sigvart Dagsland, readings by Kåre Conradi and Dennis Storhøi, and glockenspiel by Jon Håtun.
Ari Behn’s immediate family of Olav Bjørshol, Espen Bjørshol, Christian Udenes, Crown Prince Haakon, Ask and Isak Bjørshol carried his coffin from the funeral in the cathedral.
Visitors from all over the country came to Oslo to attend the ceremony in the cathedral. Already at 5.50 am, people were in the queue outside the church to get a seat during the funeral, which started at 1 pm.
Behn’s death has touched many Norwegians. At Slottsplassen, people have lit candles in his memory, and in his hometown of Moss several hundred went on a torchlight procession on Sunday, December 29th.
In addition to representatives from the Norwegian royal house, Princess Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst of the Netherlands and Swedish Prince Daniel participated in the funeral.
The Norwegian public was also well represented by Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H), Stortings President Tone W. Trøen (H), Supreme Court Justice Toril Marie Øie, Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen (SV) and County Governor Valgerd Svarstad Haugland in Viken and Oslo.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today