Bethesda Historical Society

Pooks Hill and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha

It’s typically Britain’s blue bloods who get the royal treatment on PBS’s Sunday night staple, “Masterpiece.” But for the past few weeks, all eyes have been on Norway — or at least on Norway’s Crown Princess Martha and the time she and her three children spent in the United States during World War II.


They lived in exile in, of all places, Bethesda, Md. The location was convenient to Washington and to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, the show “Atlantic Crossing” makes abundantly clear, was smitten with the crown princess. She was 39 when she arrived.

At first, the Norwegian government leased the house at Pooks Hill. It purchased it outright in 1941 for $252,000. The house was built by Merle Thorpe, the founder and publisher of Nation’s Business magazine. In 1927, he bought 103 acres on Rockville Pike — or “the” Rockville Pike, as news stories referred to it then — and named it after a 1906 collection of stories, “Puck of Pook’s Hill,” by Rudyard Kipling, a Thorpe favorite.

Read more at “Norway’s crown princess fled the Nazis with her children and lived in Maryland” on the Washington Post website.