Norway princess gives up royal duties to pursue alternative medicine with 'shaman' fiance

Princess Martha Louise's decision to step down from public duties has cased waves in the Nordic nation

Princess Martha Louise of Norway and Durek Verrett have agreed to refrain from any association with the royal family in their social media channels, media productions and commercial activities. AFP
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Norway's Princess Martha Louise has stepped down from royal duties to focus on her alternative medicine business with her fiance, a self-proclaimed shaman.

The 51-year-old royal's relationship with Durek Verrett, a popular Hollywood spiritual guru, caused waves in Norway after the African-American “sixth-generation shaman” suggested in his book Spirit Hacking that cancer was a choice.

He also sells a medallion on his website called a Spirit Optimiser, which he claims helped him overcome Covid-19.

A poll in September found that 17 per cent of Norwegians now have a lower opinion of the generally popular royal family, nearly all citing the princess and the shaman as the reason.

“The princess … is relinquishing the role as royal patron … and will not be representing the royal house at the present time,” the palace said on Tuesday.

However, “in accordance with the king's wishes, the princess will keep her title”.

The palace said that once the princess and Mr Verrett were wed, he would become a member of the royal family but would not have a title or represent the monarchy.

Her decision follows in the footsteps of other European royals, including Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who stepped down from senior royal duties after a high-profile move to California in 2019.

Last month, Denmark's Queen Margrethe apologised for stripping four of her eight grandchildren of their royal titles, after the move caused upset in the family.

Martha Louise, who claims to be able to speak with angels, lost her honorific Her Royal Highness in 2002 when she chose to work as a clairvoyant.

Princess Martha Louise and her fiancé, self-professed shaman Durek Verrett. AFP

In 2019, the divorced mother-of-three agreed not to use her title as princess in her commercial endeavours.

The couple have now agreed to refrain from any association with the royal family in their social media channels, media productions and commercial activities.

“This is intended to draw a dividing line that more clearly separates commercial activity from the Royal House of Norway”, the palace said.

It added that the royal family has “great confidence in the Norwegian health service and the Norwegian health authorities”, stressing the importance of “established medical knowledge and scientific research”.

In the same statement, Martha Louise said she was “aware of the importance of research-based knowledge”.

“I also believe, however, that there are components of a good life and sound physical and mental health that may not be so easy to sum up in a research report.”

She said “spirituality, intimacy with other people and animals, yoga and meditation” could be important supplements, as could “a warm hand, an acupuncture needle, a crystal”.

She said she felt it was important “to distinguish between myself as a private person on the one hand and as a member of the royal family on the other”, and hoped her personal views would be treated as her own “without others having to answer for them”.

Updated: November 08, 2022, 2:39 PM