Princess Mette-Marit Reveals Struggle with Vertigo: 'I Thought I'd Started Early Menopause'

"I turned my head quickly, and it was like the whole world began to move," Princess Mette-Marit said

Crown Princess Mette-Marit visits Stella Red Cross Women Centre
Photo: Nigel Waldron/Getty

Norway's royal palace has confirmed that Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 44, has been suffering from "crystal sickness," which is a common name for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

"I turned my head quickly, and it was like the whole world began to move," the Crown Princess told the Norwegian radio station P3 during an recent interview.

"I began to sweat and felt nauseous — I thought I'd started early menopause," she said.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a glandular disorder that originates in the inner ear, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Symptoms may include dizziness, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting.

Caused by the movement within the inner ear of calcified crystals, BPPV's symptoms result in brief but intense sensations of vertigo. The condition is often a temporary illness but can reoccur at anytime.

The royal mother of three described how the debilitating condition took her totally by surprise after she'd finished a series of planned fitness sessions with four girlfriends.

"I'd been incredibly good at training this fall. We used a program that changed from week to week," she said.

But the sudden onset of symptoms left her feeling as sick if she'd been "overindulging on the ferryboat to Denmark," she continued.

The condition even caused the book-loving Scandinavian princess to cancel a provincial visit on November 23.

Luckily, the affliction didn't keep her from celebrating Christmas with her family. She and Crown Prince Haakon have two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 13, and Prince Sverre Magnus, 12. Mette-Marit also has a 20-year-old son, Marius Borg Hoiby, with her ex, advertising exec Morten Borg.

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