Norwegian princess quits royal duties to work with American shaman fiancé

Norwegian princess quits royal duties to work with American shaman fiancé


Copenhagen: Princess Märtha Louise, the daughter of Norway’s King Harald, says she will no longer officially represent the Norwegian royal house following “many questions relating to me and my fiancé’s role”.

The 51-year-old princess, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, got engaged in June to Durek Verrett, an American who describes himself as a shaman and a healer on his website.

Norway’s Princess Martha Louise, right, and her fiance Durek Verrett arrive at a government event in Oslo in June.Credit:NTB/AP

At least one foundation for which Märtha Louise served as a patron subsequently ended its connection with the princess.

“I have decided that at the present time I will no longer carry out official duties for the royal household,” she said in a statement issued by the palace, adding that the decision was made in coordination with her parents “to create peace around the royal household”.

The princess will retain her title, but the palace said she informed the organisations where she still served as patron that she was relinquishing the role.

Her younger brother, Crown Prince Haakon, 49, is the heir to the throne.

Norwegian Märtha Louise is engaged to a self-proclaimed shaman. She must not use her royal title to promote his commercial activities. Credit:AP

“I am sorry that the princess will no longer represent the royal house,” the king said during a press conference about the issue. The 82-year-old Harald said “we agree to disagree”.

“We have looked at this process from all sides,” his wife, Queen Sonja added. “This has been a unanimous decision.”

Harald said Verret “probably thought he could do anything without it affecting us.”

“He must also take into account what we stand for,” Sonja said.

The palace statement said the couple would “clarify the distinction between their own activities and the royal household” and will not use the title of princess or refer to royals in social media or commercial activity.

’We agree to disagree”: Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja announced that Princess Märtha Louise will no longer carry out official duties for the royal household.Credit:AP

Bo Gleditsch, secretary-general of the Norwegian Rheumatism Association, told Norwegian news agency NTB it was “an orderly and wise decision from our patron”.

“She has resolved this on her own initiative, and that’s good,” Gleditsch told NTB.

Norwegian media have accused Märtha Louise and Verrett of allegedly using her royal title for commercial gain along with promoting alternative healthcare methods.

On Instagram, Märtha Louise said “I believe that alternative methods can be an important supplement to the established medicine”.

Verrett, 47, will not have a title or represent Norway’s royal house when he and Märtha Louise marry, according to the statement. The pair, who have been together since May 2019, according to Norwegian media, will attend family-related occasions and traditional royal events.

Märtha Louise has three daughters from her first marriage, which ended in 2016. According to Norwegian media, she plans to relocate to California with them. The palace did not say whether the royal changes would have any effect on her daughters.

Alongside her royal duties, the princess has written books in which she claimed to have contact with angels.

A poll published by Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper last month had 68 per cent of respondents saying they wanted to keep the monarchy. When Norwegian broadcaster NRK asked the same question in 2017, support for the royal house stood at 81 per cent.


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