As Duchess Meghan Markle shows off her baby bump during her tour of Oceania, there was sad news from Norway's Royal Court this week.
The country's Crown Princess Mette-Marit shared the sad news that she was diagnosed with a rare and chronic disease in a public statement.
Now, the princess is preparing to put aside some of her royal duties as she seeks treatment for her illness.
A Rare And Unusual Illness
The public statement revealed that Mette-Marit was diagnosed with "an unusual variant of fibrosis" in her lungs.
The princess is married to Norway's Prince Haakon, who is first in line for the throne of the small European country, behind his father King Harald V.
In her own statement, the 45-year-old royal admitted she had been living with "health challenges on a regular basis" for years before receiving her diagnosis.
"The condition means that the working capacity will vary," she explained.
"The Crown Prince and I choose to inform about this now, partly because in the 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."
Fibrosis is a chronic condition where lung tissue stiffens or scars, making it difficult for the body to pump oxygen into the bloodstream. It’s usually diagnosed in patients in their 70s and beyond, so the princess’ case really is quite rare.
Patients with fibrosis often experience shortness of breath, a cough, fatigue, and chest pain.
There is no cure for fibrosis, and in severe cases a patient may need a lung transplant, but other treatments like anti-inflammatory medicine are often prescribed.
"I turned my head quickly, and it was like the whole world began to move."
The news comes after the princess revealed she was suffering from "crystal sickness" in January, and cancelled a public engagement because of her symptoms.
Crystal sickness, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), is an inner ear disorder that can cause intense but short bouts of vertigo.
"I turned my head quickly, and it was like the whole world began to move," the princess described in an interview with Norway's P3 radio station.
"I began to sweat and felt nauseous — I thought I’d started early menopause."
"Although such a diagnosis at times will limit my life, I'm glad that the disease has been discovered so early."
While being diagnosed with fibrosis at such a young age is difficult, the princess and her doctors are taking the news in stride.
Mette-Marit's physician, Professor Kristian Bjøro, said her condition was "at an early stage," and that her health is "favorable considering the prognosis."
Still, the statement explains that the princess will have to take more tests to rule out other conditions like an autoimmune disease.
But she remained upbeat in a message to the public about her future:
"Although such a diagnosis at times will limit my life, I'm glad that the disease has been discovered so early," she wrote. "My goal is still to work and participate in the official program as much as possible."
A Royal Romance
While the Norwegian royals are not as well-known as the British royal family, the princess' engagement to her husband, Prince Haakon, caused quite a stir.
The couple met at a music festival in the late 1990s, before reuniting and beginning to date years later, when Mette-Marit had become a single mother.
Like Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, some thought that Mette-Marit’s background as a "commoner" made her unsuitable to join the royal family.
But since marrying Haakon in 2001, the couple have proved their critics wrong and welcomed two children together, Princess Ingrid, 14, and Prince Sverre, 12, who joined Mette-Marit’s oldest son Marius, 21.
[H/T: Fox News]