The tragedy that has hit Norway at the hand of Anders Behring Breivik has also affected the country’s royalty. Trond Bernsten, the stepbrother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit was among the 76 people killed in the massacre last Friday.
Breivik detonated a car bomb near the prime minister’s office in Oslo, killing eight people, and then traveled to a youth camp on Utoya Island to massacre 68 people at that location.
Bernsten was one of the first people killed. The 51-year-old the police officer and security guard was at Utoya Island with his 10-year-old son. He was off duty and unarmed when a woman getting off a recently docked ferry alerted Bernsten to Breivik’s suspicious behavior, according to the Daily Mail.
Bernsten shielded his son by pushing him into the bushes before confronting the right-winged fanatical gunman. Breivik immediately shot Bernsten and the woman, Monica Bosei, who before going on a rampage across the rest of the island in search of more victims.
Bernsten’s son remains unnamed, but recounted to police the events of the attack.
A spokesperson for the Norwegian royal family confirmed Monday that Bernsten and the Crown Princess were related through the marriage of Bernsten’s father to Mette-Marit’s mother in 1994.
“The crown princess’s thoughts go to his closest family,” a spokesperson reported.
Mette-Marit wept openly while greeting friends and family of the victims at a memorial service yesterday. Also in attendance at a support rally in Oslo yesterday evening, Crown Prince Haakon gave words of condolence to the crowd.
“Tonight the streets are filled with love,” he said.
Mette-Marit, a commoner from Kristiansand, Norway met the Crown Price at a rock concert in her hometown. Their 2001 marriage stirred controversy within the country due to Mette-Marit being a single mother.
Recovery efforts after the massacre continue as rescue workers search the lake near Utoya Island for victims. Several people had taken to the water to escape the attack and it is uncertain whether more bodies will be found.