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Norway Health

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease.

A statement from the Royal Court released Wednesday revealed that the 45-year-old royal, who joined Norway’s royal family with her 2001 marriage to Crown Prince Haakon, has chronic pulmonary fibrosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease occurs when lung tissue becomes scarred and causes reduced oxygen supply in the blood. There is currently no way to reverse or slow down the damage to the lungs.

“For a number of years, I have had health challenges on a regular basis, and now we know more about what these are in,” Crown Princess Mette-Marit said in a statement. “The condition means that the working capacity will vary. The Crown Prince and I choose to inform about this now, partly because in future there will be a need to plan periods without official program. In connection with treatment and when the disease is more active, this will be necessary.”

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The disease is caused by a number of factors, but the Royal Court’s statement said that it’s “not yet clear” if Princess Mette-Marit’s condition “is linked to a more extensive autoimmune disease process or if there are other causes that underlie the lung changes.”

“The Crown Princess will have to undergo further investigation in the future and also treatment trials. In such conditions as the Crown Princess has, it is common for us to cooperate with environments abroad,” said her doctor, Professor Kristian Bjøro at the National Hospital.

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Kongefamilien var i ettermiddag samlet til julefotografering ved juletreet i Den røde salong på Slottet. Foto: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff #kongehuset #kongefamilien #detkongeligeslott #jul #juletre

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Princess Mette-Marit was a single mother of a son, Marius Borg Høiby, 21, when she married Crown Prince Haakon, the first in line to the Norwegian throne after his father, King Harald V. Mette-Marit and Haakon also share two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 14, and Prince Sverre Magnus, 12.

The Royal Court stressed that finding the disease early “is favorable considering the prognosis.”

“Although such a diagnosis in times will limit my life, I’m glad that the disease has been discovered so early,” Mette-Marit said in a statement. “My goal is still to work and participate in the official program as much as possible.”

In January, Princess Mette-Marit revealed she had been suffering from “crystal sickness,” which is a common name for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The issue caused her to cancel an engagement last year.

“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.” | 10/25/18

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello is battling an “aggressive” form of cancer and has canceled the remainder of his current European tour.

The 63-year-old “Alison” singer shared the news on Facebook Friday, saying he has undergone surgery and that recovery will “take longer than I would have wished.”

Concerts dates in the U.K., Croatia, Austria, Norway and Sweden that were previously scheduled through mid-July have been canceled. He also canceled U.K. shows in Southend and Plymouth in June.

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The celebrated musician left his fans with some “more optimistic news,” that he and his band The Imposters, along with more contributors, have made a “magnificent new record” expected to release in October.

Here is Costello’s full statement:

Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, “You should start playing the Lotto”. He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.

I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead.

Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery, recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel.

It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed.

I have to thank our friends attending last night’s show in Amsterdam and those in Antwerp, Glynde and at Newcastle City Hall for bearing me up. The spirit has been more than willing but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength. Therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour.

My apologies go to our ticket holders in Manchester, Pula, Graz, Vienna, Tysnes and Rattvik but I would rather disappoint our friends there by not appearing than in pressing on with a show that is compromised and
eventually puts my health at risk.

My deep thanks go to Pete Thomas, Steve Nieve and Davey Faragher of The Imposters for all their deep friendship, love and support during this upsetting time. Thanks also to Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee whose beautiful voices have spurred me on to do the singing that I’ve managed, whatever the cost. It goes without saying that there are many others who have worked to get us to the stage and from town to town to whom I am also deeply grateful.

To leave you with some more optimistic news, The Imposters and I – together with several of our other friends – have made a magnificent new record of which we are truly proud. It will be issued in October, I believe. We will return at the soonest opportunity to play that music and your favourite songs that still make sense to us all.

Take very good care of your loved ones but Gentleman, do talk to you friends – you’ll find you are not alone – seek your doctor’s advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in these matters. It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette.

Yours through music. Elvis Costello

The canceled dates of the remainder of his tour are:

Fri 6th UK, Manchester, Castlefield Bowl
Sun 8th CROATIA, Pula, Pula Arena
Mon 9th AUSTRIA, Graz, Kasematten – Schlossberguhne
Weds 11th AUSTRIA, Vienna, Konzerthaus
Sat 14th Norway, Tysnes, Tysnesfest Gjesrstad Arena
Mon 16th SWEDEN, Rattvik, Dalhalla

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In an open letter on Monday addressed to “Fellow Humans,” actress Rose McGowan urged people not to seek to blame Anthony Bourdain’s girlfriend, her friend Asia Argento, for his death by suicide last week.

“Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice,” she wrote.

“Anthony was part of a ‘pull up your bootstraps and march on’ generation. The a ‘strong man doesn’t ask for help’ generation,” McGowan wrote in the letter, which she said was sent at the urging of Argento herself.

Also Read: Anthony Bourdain's Ex-Wife: 'I Hope You Are Having a Good Trip, Wherever You Are'

“I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor’s advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt,” McGowan noted. “Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony.”

Argento, who had been publicly linked to Bourdain for more than a year, had become the target of some online trolls speculating about the state of their relationship.

Hours before Bourdain’s body was found in a hotel room outside Paris, People reported, Argento had posted a now-deleted Instagram post of herself wearing a t-shirt that read “F— Everyone” with the caption “You know who you are.”

McGowan said that Bourdain and Argento “had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony.”

Also Read: What's the Future of CNN's 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' After His Death?

McGowan also urged fans to focus on the unique challenges of depression as a mental illness. “Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them,” she wrote. “In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, ‘He’s never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.'”

She added that Argento herself shared some of the same mental-health issues. “Through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop,” she wrote. “But here’s the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children.

“Anthony’s depression didn’t let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice,” she wrote. “His decision, not hers. His depression won.”

Also Read: Suicide Prevention Calls Increase After Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain Deaths

Read her full letter here:

Dear Fellow Humans,

Sitting across from me is the remarkable human and brave survivor, Asia Argento, who has been through more than most could stand, and yet stand she does. She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide. The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain. I write these truths because I have been asked to. I know so many around the world thought of Anthony Bourdain as a friend and when a friend dies, it hurts. Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice.

When Anthony met Asia, it was instant chemistry. They laughed, they loved and he was her rock during the hardships of this last year. Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them. In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, “He’s never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.” And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop. But here’s the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony’s depression didn’t let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice. His decision, not hers. His depression won. Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony. Was. Such a terrible word to write. I’ve heard from many that the past two years they were together were some of his happiest and that should give us all solace.

Anthony was 61, the same age my father was when he died. My father also suffered from intermittent deep depression, and like Anthony, was part of a “pull up your bootstraps and march on” generation. The a “strong man doesn’t ask for help” generation. I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor’s advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt. Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony. We are asking you to be better, to look deeper, to read and learn about mental illness, suicide and depression before you make it worse for survivors by judging that which we do not understand, that which can never fully be understood. Sometimes we are stuck in the unknowable, and that is where we are now, a massive wave of darkness that threatens to swallow everyone in its wake.

As I watch Asia do her job on set today, I see a pillar of strength who continues to work to put food on her children’s table. I see Elizabeth Taylor carrying on filming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof despite her love, her husband, dying in a plane crash. I see all of us who have carried on. Please join me in sending healing energy to Anthony on his journey, and to all who’ve been left behind to journey on without him. There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting.

We must do more and be better. Anthony, our friend, would want it that way.

To the media and to the random commenter, Anthony would never have wanted Asia to be hurt, I’d like to think he would want us to have the collective conversation that needs to be had about depression. Blame is NOT a conversation, it is the shutting down of our collective growth. Which is where we are now. We have a choice as humans, shrink to our smaller, uglier selves, or be better and grow as only true Phoenixes can. I urge you to be that Phoenix.

With great sadness and even greater hope, I remain,

Rose McGowan

cc: Asia Argento

If you are considering suicide, reach out. We need you here. You matter. You exist. You count. There is help a phone call away, reach out.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines:

Argentina: +5402234930430

Australia: 131114

Austria: 017133374

Belgium: 106

Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05

Botswana: 3911270

Brazil: 212339191

Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)

Croatia: 014833888

Denmark: +4570201201

Egypt: 7621602

Finland: 010 195 202

France: 0145394000

Germany: 08001810771

Holland: 09000767

Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000

Hungary: 116123

India: 8888817666

Ireland: +4408457909090

Israel: 1201 or 972-889-1333 from abroad

Italy: 800860022

Japan: +810352869090

Mexico: 5255102550

New Zealand: 045861048

Norway: +4781533300

Pakistan: 15 / 115 (Emergency)

Philippines: 028969191

Poland: 5270000

Russia: 0078202577577

Spain: 914590050

South Africa: 0514445691

Sweden: 46317112400

Switzerland: 143

United Kingdom: 08457909090

USA: 18002738255

For a USA Crisis Text Line, please text CONNECT to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

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Suicide Prevention Calls Increase After Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain Deaths | 6/11/18

And now, we wait.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are set to welcome their third child — and soon they’ll be ready to introduce their little bundle of joy to the world.

Join us live outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London where Kate, 36, has just gone into labor. Soon — after the baby arrives — Kate, William and their new bundle of joy will step outside the hospital wing’s famous doors for a very royal photo-op in front of hundreds of photographers, reporters and well-wishers. Then, the royal family will head home to Kensington Palace where Kate can recuperate in private — and the little baby can meet their new family. It’s a familiar routine for Will and Kate — they did the exact same thing when they welcomed Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015. Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Just as with her first two pregnancies, Kate battled acute morning sickness, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, during her first trimester. Once she resumed her royal duties, she hit the ground running, supporting World Mental Health Day, welcoming future sister-in-law Meghan Markle for the holidays, joining William for their busy tour of Sweden and Norway and walking the red carpet at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (just to name a few royal outings!).

RELATED PHOTOS: See the Best Pictures of Prince George and Princess Charlotte

The baby’s arrival comes just weeks before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to tie the knot at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. | 4/23/18

Finland has a lot to smile about.

The Scandinavian country landed the top spot on the United Nations’ World Happiness Report, released Wednesday.

The list, which ranks countries based on account income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity, according to the website, found the same countries as last year to be the 10 happiest, though some have switched positions.

RELATED: California Has the Worst ‘Quality of Life’ in the Country, Says New Study

The top 10 for 2018 are, in order: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

Scandinavian countries have dominated the list for years. In the last four reports, the top spot was claimed by Denmark, Norway, Finland and Switzerland (which is not in Scandinavia).

So what is it about these countries that makes their residents so content? Surprisingly, one factor might be the chilly weather.

When Norway won last year, one of the study’s editors told Time magazine that the frigid climate and long, dark winters may actually have had a positive influence on residents’ perceived well-being.

“There is a view which suggests that historically communities that lived in harsher weather were brought together by greater mutual support,” Professor John Helliwell said. “You see this with farming communities as well, who will get together to pull a barn roof up. They don’t ask about who’s paying what. So the colder climate of the Northern countries might actually make social support easier.”

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Less competition at work and better support for those without a job are also big factors, according to Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, who worked on the 2017 report and spoke to Time.

In Finland, economic factors are a major influence, too. The country has a high GDP and high taxes — which support social programs — and free or low-cost higher education and healthcare. Plus, life expectancy is very high: 78 for men and 84 for women, according to 2015 data from the World Health Organization.

The most unexpected reason for Scandinavians’ apparent contentment, however, is that they have lower expectations for their own happiness.

“If we are talking heel-kicking, cocktail-umbrella joie de vivre, then the Danes do not score highly, and I suspect not even they would take their claims that far,” Michael Booth, author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, wrote of Denmark (2013, 2014 and 2016’s happiest country) in The Atlantic in 2015. “But if we are talking about being contented with one’s lot, then the Danes do have a more convincing case to present.”

In other words, they don’t strive to be extremely happy, and as a result, they’re happier with less.

RELATED: This 23-Year-Old Is Out to Break the Record for Fastest and Youngest Person to Travel to Every Country

The United States, for the record, came in 18th, right above the United Kingdom. The unhappiest countries of the 156 ranked were South Sudan, Central African Republic and Burundi. | 3/14/18

American freeskier Nick Goepper returned to the snow on Sunday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to defend his Olympic bronze medal in men’s slopestyle — and he did even better than that, winning silver.

His final score of 93.60, earned on his last of three runs in the event, came in just behind the 95.00 of Norway’s Oystein Braaten.

With his second-place finish, Goepper is the only athlete to medal twice in slopestyle, which was introduced at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“It feels incredible,” he tells PEOPLE of the win, not long after competing. “I really just wanted to come here and lay it all out there and land a run and be able to say I was accomplished, and I feel I did exactly that.”

Speaking to a room of reporters, Goepper, 23 echoed that same joy. “It was such a pleasure to be a part of the best slopestyle skiing competition in history,” he said. “Qualification was just mind-blowing, and then the final was two-times that. And to be able to land my third and final run and come away with my second Olympic medal is a dream come true.”

Goepper previously earned earned bronze in slopestyle (in which competitors are scored as they perform a variety of tricks and jumps down a mixed-terrain course, not dissimilar to skateboarding) at Sochi. He was part of a rare nation’s sweep of the podium, alongside Joss Christensen, who won gold, and Gus Kenworthy, who earned silver

Hampered by injury, Christensen failed to qualify for Team USA this year; Kenworthy competed in the slopestyle finals on Sunday but disappointed in all three runs, coming last.

Both he and Goepper had made strong showings in the slopestyle qualifying earlier Sunday — which aired Saturday night stateside — placing fifth and seventh, respectively, heading into the finals in the afternoon. Kenworthy was even skiing with a broken thumb and a bruised hip.

With Goepper’s win, the U.S. stands at 10 total medals. (Speedskater John-Henry Krueger nabbed the ninth, a silver, in Saturday’s men’s 1,000-meter event.)

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

For Goepper, the 2018 Games were somewhat of a “redemption time,” he told PEOPLE in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a few days before his event.

“I’m coming off a poor result at the X Games in Aspen a couple weeks ago, and that was really tough for me,” he said. “I made an uncharacteristic mistake three times in all my runs, and I’m really just using that as fuel and motivation to bring into this and really step it up and shine, because that’s what I came here to do.”

The memory of his third-place finish four years ago also motivated him.

“I remember just being not as satisfied as I could have been ,” he said, adding, “I mean we’re just picking at straws here. Just being as competitive as I am, I really, really want to win a gold medal. And that’s pretty much what I came here to do.”

However, having earned a silver on Sunday, he tells PEOPLE, “This is an incredibly fulfilling experience, especially with a different perspective than I had in Sochi.”

One change from his experience then to now? “I was sort of a lone wolf in Russia last time and I didn’t have that much fun, so I really want to be able to take the whole experience in while I’m here,” he previously told PEOPLE.

RELATED VIDEO: Olympian Gus Kenworthy on His Impact as the ‘Gay Skier’

In recent weeks, Goepper has also spoken publicly about his mental health and substance abuse struggles following the post-Olympics high of Sochi.

He said the decision to discuss those issues “really comes down to just me being comfortable with who I am.”

“I’m not necessarily trying to be a big advocate or a spokesperson or anything like that,” he told PEOPLE. “Who knows, I might down the road, once I become even more comfortable and learn more about this.”

“But I think just growing up and being more comfortable in my own skin really helped me be more open and candid with the public about some of those personal struggles,” he continued, “and especially being in a position of a public figure, I think it’s a really good thing to do that.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit | 2/18/18

Kate Middleton is the star of a new PSA urging adults to help children be the “best versions of themselves.”

Princess Kate, 36, has helped inspire the drive to talk openly about children’s mental wellbeing, and intervene to help kids as early as possible. Her latest video, released by one of her key charities, Place2Be , is encouraging youngsters to feel comfortable with who they are.

In the clip, Kate says, “Childhood is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us and learn how to be ourselves. Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults, how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.”

“Some children will be facing tougher challenges than others, but I firmly believe that while we cannot change their circumstances, we can ensure that every child is given the best possible support to ensure they fulfill their true potential. This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures and thrive,” Kate explains.

Continuing, she adds, “When we are open and honest with each other about the challenges we face, we can work together to ensure the children in our care have the chance to become the best version of themselves.”

The new video kicks off several days of campaigning on Children’s Mental Health Week, which has been a key moment for Kate.

Kate, who was reunited with her children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, when she and Prince William returned from four days in Sweden and Norway on Friday night, made the PSA during her visit to the Reach Academy Feltham, London, last month.

There, she heard about Place2Be’s work in the school, and chatted with two students — Lauren and Sophia — a mother of two named Mandy, and Principal Ed Vainker.

The charity says that low self-esteem affects more than eight in 10 of the pupils who receive Place2Be’s one-to-one support, but when children are supported to have a positive view of themselves it can have a real impact on their confidence and can help them cope with life’s challenges.

RELATED VIDEO: Kate Middleton Delivers Rare Speech About Kids’ Mental Health

“We know that some children find it difficult to think of themselves positively, as it’s all too easy nowadays to compare ourselves negatively to others, especially online,” Catherine Roche, the chief executive of Place2Be, said in a statement.

“This Children’s Mental Health Week we are encouraging everyone, and especially children and young people, to focus on what makes them who they are, and to celebrate their unique qualities and strengths,” she added. | 2/5/18

Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s four-day Scandinavian royal tour is coming to a close!

On the final day of the tour on Friday, the royal couple learned about Norwegian pop culture when they visited with some of the country’s most popular teen stars from the hit drama series, Skam.

Will and Kate traveled to Hartvig Nissen School, which was where the series filmed, and were joined by Prince Haakon and Princess Mertens-Marit on Norway. Each season of this popular show, which ended after its fourth season in 2017, focused on topics ranging from relationship difficulties, identity, eating disorders, sexual assault, homosexuality and mental health issues.

The royals met students to learn about the effect Skam had on bringing challenges teenagers face out into the open, and the role played by social media.

Kate wore a purple Dolce and Gabbana coat when she arrived, and chatted with students as she made her way inside. During one exchange, Kate talked with a female student about science classes she took in school before heading to university.

“I went to a school called Marlborough College and then onto university which is where I met William,” she said. “St. Andrews University in Scotland. Miles away, freezing cold. But I can’t complain about that being here. It’s much colder here.”

She also spoke with 19-year-old Shaun Ondo and his friend Alfred Strande, 18. “I told her that her coat was burgundy and she said I had very good English,” Ondo says. “It was nice to see them in real life and nice to see they are such friendly people.”

Strands adds, “We don’t know much about the royal people from England. It was good that they took the time to say hello and shake hands.”

Inside the school, the two royal couples met with actors in Skam and discussed how the show had changed perceptions of young people’s problems.

Tarjei Sandvik Moe, who plays a character who comes out as gay and also has a mother suffering from mental problems, told William: “People from China, South Korea, France and Spain come to visit this school.”

William, who was taking part in a group discussion with students and actors accompanied by Princess Mette-Marit, asked them, “Does it feel that a lot of young people are afraid of the issues, and what you’ve done is brought it to life?”

Tarjei replied: “The issues are hard for people to take. We live in a society where people expect you to deal with problems on your own.”

Meanwhile, Kate, who took part in another discussion with Prince Haakon, asked how the series — which was broadcast in real time, with school scenes streamed during the day, and party scenes released at night — had changed the school.

The students told her it had had a big effect on the school, with teachers picking up on the slang used by pupils in the show and incorporating it into Norwegian language lessons.

Prince Haakon added that the series, which was originally aimed at the teenage audience, had changed the way the different generations interacted with each other, with parents and teachers watching the show, sometimes with their children.

Later, Will and Kate further cemented their burgeoning friendship with Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit when they were invited for lunch at the couple’s official home, Skaugum. The royal couples hadn’t met before William and Kate stepped off their plane in snowy Oslo on Thursday.

But by the afternoon, when they strolled through the sculpture park and visited some young entrepreneurs, it was clear they were getting along royally.

Later on Friday, they will take a short tour of the Holmenkollen ski museum before ascending to the top of ski jump to talk with and observe junior ski jumpers from Norway’s national team.

Kate and William will treasure their first official visit to the Scandinavian country. In his speech at a dinner at the Royal Palace on Thursday, William warmly praised their hosts.

“Thousands of people cross the North Sea in each direction every year,” he said. “Friendship is the hallmark of what prompts them to make this journey. Catherine and I are delighted that, now, we too have made that journey; we too have experienced the warmth of that friendship on this very special visit.” | 2/2/18

Prince and Princess squared — again!

On day two of their tour of Sweden and Norway, Prince William and Kate Middleton paired up with Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel to visit a Stockholm school where children take part in an innovative mentoring program to foster mental health.

Flag waving children greeted the two royal couples at Matteusskolan School — gleefully taking up more of their time than they had planned. What was meant to be a walk in and wave turned out to be a 10 minute meet-and-greet for the excited children.

Kate picked a coat by Catherine Walker and dress by Alexander McQueen for the occasion, pairing the ensemble with earrings by Swedish designer In2Design. Prince William wore a sweater also from a Swedish designer, Acne. 

It came after a packed day when William, 35, and Kate, 36, faced off in a playful hockey shoot-out, lunched with the extended Swedish royal family and strolled the city’s snowy cobbled streets. Last night, they attended a glamorous dinner attended by Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.

William and Kate invited Victoria and Daniel to their wedding in 2011, but it’s understood that the couples do not know each other well, so the two days have been valuable for them as royals of the same generation to bond and reinforce the links between their two countries.

Later on Wednesday, the couples are set to have a private tea together at the 19th-century Haga Palace, where Victoria and Daniel have lived since their 2010 wedding.

While there, the British couple may have a chance to meet the Swedish royals’ children Princess Estelle, 5, and nearly 2-year-old Prince Oscar, who are close in age to  Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2.

In the evening, both couples will take in the glittering nighttime view of the city at an event to celebrate the best of Swedish music, film, TV and sports. | 1/31/18

James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018

Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.

Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996

James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle. 

Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy. 

Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.

Right and wrong

Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read.  He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.  

As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.

In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.

After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.

In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.

The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.

In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.

Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."

Brent Spar   Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995

One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.

When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.

After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.

One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"

Again, British naval police evicted the occupiers, but Castle and the crew kept up pursuit. Then the Spar suddenly altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.

"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."


After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.

Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived. 

Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.

“Moral courage”

Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."

He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisation and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised."  He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."

He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them."  Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle."  An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."

Well loved hero

Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."

Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.

In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.

In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.  

Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.

Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.   

Figure skating champion and future Olympian Adam Rippon is standing by comments published Wednesday by USA Today in which he lambasted Vice President Mike Pence, in part for Pence’s position on LGBT rights.

“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon, who will compete on Team USA, said of Pence, who will lead the American Olympic delegation at the Winter Games in South Korea next month.

“To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory,” Rippon explained. “If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s—holes,’ I think he should really go to church.”

Rippon was referring to widely reported comments that Trump made in a meeting last week with multiple Congressmen about immigration laws, denigrating countries such as Haiti in comparison with Norway — an account the White House did not immediately deny.

Later, however, Trump said he did not use that vulgarity, instead saying he used “tough” language.

Speaking with USA Today, Rippon said he wants to skip the standard meet-and-greet event between Team USA athletes and the American delegation led by Pence.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” said Rippon, 28, who publicly came out as gay in 2015. “I’m not buying it.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said that he does not and has never supported such therapy. “The accusation is totally false with no basis in fact,” Farah said.

But LGBT advocates have pointed to a 2000 statement on Pence’s congressional campaign website where he noted that Congress should reauthorize a law funding HIV/AIDS treatment but “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Beyond the issue of gay conversion therapy, Pence, a self-described religious conservative, has taken multiple anti-LGBT positions over the years.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon told USA Today. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon said. “He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump. … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”

In her statement, Farrah, Pence’s press secretary, told PEOPLE: “The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America’s incredible athletes.”

“Despite these misinformed claims , the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang,” Farrah said.

Speaking to PEOPLE, Rippon says he stands by his quotes to USA Today.

“I just don’t think that’s right,” he says, “and I think there are so many people who also don’t think that’s right and I think right now more than ever I have this window of time to say what I feel and hopefully make a change.”

“My mom has always taught me to stand up for people who don’t have a voice,” he says.

Still, Rippon stressed to USA Today that, “I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest .”

“I’m representing myself and my country on the world stage,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for this opportunity. What makes America great is that we’re all so different. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”

Rippon is widely described as being the first openly gay American athlete at the Winter Olympics.

“Sharing my story in 2015, I remember thinking if just one person hears this and reads it and it makes them feel like they aren’t alone, that would be awesome,” he tells PEOPLE. “Now to be headed to the Olympics, my story now has a bigger platform and I’ve heard from so many different kinds of people.”

“It’s so amazing,” he continues, “and it makes me feel like coming out — it was way more important than I even realized.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8 on NBC. To learn more, visit | 1/18/18

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been packing as many official visits into their already busy royal schedule before the arrival of baby number 3, who is expected in April.

The next big event on the royal agenda is a tour of Sweden and Norway, where William and Kate will visit with the royal families of each country. They have also been invited to a special lunch at the Royal Palace of Stockholm by Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. During their trip to Norway, William and Kate will join Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja at Oslo's Royal Palace for an official dinner.

But it's not only royalty the Duke and Duchess will meet with; they will also attend a black-tie dinner with with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and actors such as Alicia Vikander and Stellan Skarsgård. The Lara Croft actress will be a representative of the country's popular culture.

The Duke and Duchess have apparently requested to meet with "as many Swedes and Norwegians as possible" throughout their tour, visiting those working in the "mental health sector, and leaders in business, academia and scientific research, government, civil society and the creative industries."

The official press release from Kensington Palace doesn't state whether Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be attending. Since Charlotte just started nursery and George is busy getting up to mischief, it's possible the young royals will stay at home. That means, unfortunately, we won't have any new hilarious photos of Prince George's facial expressions during the royal tours. Fingers crossed mom and dad decide to take them along after all!

STAVANGER, Norway — Norwegians generally live longer than Americans. There's a generous safety net of health care and pensions. And although it's pricey, the country last year was named the happiest on Earth.

President Donald Trump says the United States should take in more Norwegians, but is it any wonder that more Americans are going the other way?

STAVANGER, Norway — Norwegians generally live longer than Americans. There's a generous safety net of health care and pensions. And although it's pricey, the country last year was named the happiest on Earth.

President Donald Trump says the United States should take in more Norwegians, but is it any wonder that more Americans are going the other way?