"I cannot imagine a life without books," the princess, whose husband is heir to Norway's throne, has said
Credit: Courtesy Princess Mette-Marit; Everett

Bibbidi bobbidi books!

Cross Cinderella’s magic carriage with Frozen‘s Elsa and Beauty and the Beast‘s literature-loving Belle and you get Mette-Marit, the Crown Princess of Norway.

For the second year in a row, the Scandinavian royal, 41, is embarking on a literacy tour of her scenic homeland – and once again, she’s transforming her royal carriage into a rolling library.

The carriage, known as the “Train of Literature,” will make several stops in Norway, where the princess will meet with locals to encourage a love of reading. It features a “library wagon” that is open to all whenever the train stops at a platform. Included among the selections: a shelf of the princess’s favorite books. (She names The Brothers Lionheart by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren as her No. 1 pick.)

“I cannot imagine a life without books,” she said before embarking on last year’s tour, which she is again chronicling on Instagram. “Ever since I was a little girl I have enjoyed being read to and entering that special room that is fantasy.

“Reading – the images it creates in your mind and the feelings it evokes – has made me a better, wiser and more reflective person. But first of all, the stories have been my sanctuary. To me books have been home.”

Mette-Marit’s own story is the stuff of fairy tales: A Norwegian commoner and single mom, she met Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon – the heir to the throne of Norway – in the late 1990s at a rock festival. They crossed paths again years later, after she had welcomed son Marius, now 18. She and Crown Prince Haakon, who married in 2001, have two children together: Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 11, and Prince Sverre Magnus, 9.

“The book tour seems to be a great success this year, too,” says Randi Buchwaldt, a Norwegian author who has written several royals books. “Crown Princess Mette-Marit is known to be very fond of reading and has previously read stories to children. She told the press this year that she does not like detective novels. But she also reads much nonfiction.”

One book that’s not on her royal library cart? A certain erotic blockbuster.

“She told journalists she had read a bit in Fifty Shades of Grey,” says Buchwaldt, “but that she did not find it worth spending time on.”

With reporting by ULLA PLON

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