"There is a void where you were, because no one can ever replace you for our beautiful girls," Princess Märtha Louise wrote

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 03, 2020 04:04 PM

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway is opening up about the recent death of her ex-husband and father of her children, Ari Behn. The royal family laid Behn to rest on Friday at Oslo Cathedral.

Hours after the ceremony, the princess, 48, broke her silence on 47-year-old Behn’s death by suicide, which happened on Christmas Day. Princess Märtha Louise — who shared three daughters with the late writer: Maud Angelica, 16, Leah Isadora, 14, and Emma Tallulah, 11 — said the news was “immensely sad.”

“Dear Ari, We were supposed to be together at Christmas and celebrating. We had all been looking forward to it. And we are so infinitely sad and sorry for the loss of just you, because you were the girls’ warm, funny, wise and good dad that they so dearly miss,” the royal wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of her late ex.

“We miss the funny comments, your fine viewpoints, the poetic tone, the overflowing compliments, the great love you had for them. Today you would have been so proud of them. But now there is a void where you were, because no one can ever replace you for our beautiful girls. And it is so painful to think that you would leave the earth. We are in deep sorrow and pain all together,” she said. “An invisible illness took you more and more, because that’s when the mental health fails. For a long time, we gradually saw you disappear, but we held on to the belief that this would go well. Your family fought for you. They have been there for you day and night.”

The mom of three concluded, “You are and will continue to be deeply missed, Ari. And I feel sad that you never really understood how loved you were. I hope that we who are left can be good at praising each other and saying the nice words to each other. For we have this life to share just how happy we are for each other and what wonderful qualities we see in each other. We keep you in love, Ari, and move on with your words: Every day is a party and you are a piece of jewelry.”

Patrick van Katwijk/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

In a statement issued on Christmas Day, Princess Martha Louise’s parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja, said Behn was “an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him,” according to The Independent.

“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,” the statement said.

Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn, June 2015

Princess Martha Louise, who is now dating American “spiritual guide” to the stars Shaman Durek, was married to Behn for 14 years before officially divorcing in 2016.

A statement from the Royal House of Norway at the time of their split said the separation was amicable, and that the two would continue to co-parent their three kids.

“We are human,” Princess Märtha Louise said in the statement, adding the couple had tried “everything in their power to make the marriage work.”

“It’s unspeakably sad for both of us to discover that the road ahead doesn’t run as it once did. Like so many others, we’ve grown apart,” she said. “We’ve tried everything over a long period of time … but it’s impossible for us to go on.”

She added: “The marriage is over, but we stand together as parents.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

News broke on Dec. 25 that Behn, an author who married into Norway’s royal family, had died by suicide.

“It’s with great sorrow in our hearts that we, those closest to Ari Behn, must report that he took his own life today,” Geir Håkonsund, Behn’s manager, said in a statement to Norwegian newspaper VG. “We ask for respect for our private lives in the time to come.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.