Princess Märtha renounces official duties but WILL keep royal title

Norway’s Megxit! Princess Märtha Louise steps down as senior working royal to pursue commercial projects with her fiancé Shaman Durek – but WILL keep her title

  • The mother-of-three, 51, will no longer represent the Norwegian Royal Family 
  • The Princess stepped back as a senior working royal in 2019
  • Märtha announced her engagement to shaman Durek Verrett in June 
  • Fiance caused controversy for claiming children get cancer from being unhappy

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has renounced her official duties but will still keep her royal title following her engagement to a US shaman with a ‘controversial’ history.

King Harald V, 85, announced today that his daughter, 51, will no longer represent the Royal household in any form – after the mother-of-three initially stepped back as a working royal in 2019.

Although the monarch has allowed Princess Märtha Louise, 51, to keep her royal title, her father re-iterated that she will not be allowed to use it in any future commercial partnerships with her partner Durek Verrett, 47.

The Queen took a similar approach with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when quit their public duties and relocated to Montecito, California in 2020. 

Speaking to 2News today, King Harald of Norway explained discussions had taking place over the course of four or five months. 

‘We have arrived at a solution which I believe will give greater distance between the princess’s activities and the royal house,’ he said. ‘I am sorry that the princess will no longer represent the royal house.’

He stressed that his daughter has remained a princess at his request, saying: ‘She is our daughter, and she will continue to be. So she is Princess Märtha Louise.’   

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has renounced her official duties today. King Harald V, 85, announced today that his his daughter, 51, will no longer represent the Royal household in any form

Princess Märtha Louise will keep her royal title, despite no longer being a working royal. Pictured with her fiance Durek Verrett, who she has been dating since 2019

The King and Queen of Norway thanked their daughter for the ‘care, warmth and great commitment’ Princess Märtha Louise had displayed over the years. The trio pictured in July 2017 at the unveiling of Norwegian Trekking Association gift for The Queen of Norway 80th birthday

He also paid tribute to his daughter’s partner as ‘a really great guy, and really fun to be with’. 

‘He has a lot of humor and we laugh a lot, even in this difficult time,’ he said. ‘I think both we and he have gained a greater understanding of what this is about, and we agree to disagree, so to speak.

The royal admitted that Shaman Durek had struggled to understand why his daughter’s royal status could not be used to promote commercial projects.   

‘The Americans don’t understand the significance of this, they have no idea what a royal house is,’ he explained. ‘He thought he could do whatever he wanted without it affecting us at all.’  

A statement from Norway’s Royal Family read: ‘Princess Märtha Louise wants to contribute to a clearer distinction between her own activities and the connection to the Royal Household. 

‘Therefore, the Princess renounces her official duties and will not represent the Royal Household.

‘The King has decided that the Princess will retain her title, but Princess Märtha Louise and her fiance Durek Verrett will not use the title in their commercial activities. 

‘The King and Queen wish to thank Princess Märtha Louise for the important efforts she has made through her official work for decades. She has carried out her work with care, warmth and great commitment.’

The official announcement comes after weeks of mounting speculation over Märtha’s future within the institution following her engagement to guru to the stars Durek Verret in June.

Last month, Prince Haakon, 49, told local press that he feels ‘responsible’ for the future of the Norwegian monarchy and admitted that some of his future brother-in-law’s views had caused controversy in Norway.

Prince Haakon of Norway, who is heir-to-the-throne, 49, told local press that he feels ‘responsible’ for the future of the Norwegian monarchy, Norwegian media NRK reported

Referring to his sister’s June engagement with guru to the stars Durek Verrett, who works under the name of Shaman Durek, right, and lives with Märtha Louise in California, Haakon said he liked him on a personal level, but admitted some of the spiritual personality’s viewers had caused controversy in Norway

Shortly after the mother-of-three announced her engagement, a Norweigan publishing house dropped Durek’s book ‘Spirit Hacking’ over pseudoscientific claims, including ‘children can get cancer from being unhappy’

Among his other claims, Durek says he once came back from the dead, recovering from a month-long coma, by letting his soul ‘burn’ and he has also spoken of having to undergo a kidney transplant from his sister as a child. 

It is unclear why he needed the kidney or how he became wheelchair bound, as he has described. The illness which sent him into a coma is also undisclosed. 

Haakon told local press NRK that he would like to ‘welcome’ Durek into the ‘family’ and that he had met the Shaman on ‘a number of occasions.’

However, he then went on to touch on Durek’s recent controversial comments.

‘We have of course noticed that some of what has been said and done has caused quite a bit of discussion.’ Haakon said. ‘Some of it has also been controversial.’

Publishing Manager Knut Ola Ulvestad also told a Norwegian newspaper at the time that he wasn’t aware of the cancer claims in the book until after the US release. 

Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit with King Harald V and Queen Sonja in 2004

‘When I read through the Norwegian translation and found the parties dealing with the causes of cancer and treatment, it became impossible to publish this book,’ he said in 2019. ‘If this is read literally, it can simply be harmful.’

‘We all have friends and colleagues affected by cancer, who have children affected by cancer. 

‘And what Durek writes about, for example, is that when children have cancer, it’s because they’re unhappy and thinking about it, so yeah, I just don’t have an adequate comment on this.’

According to the Times, a recent poll revealed that 17 per cent of the public now views the Norwegian monarchy more negatively than they did a year ago, with ‘Martha Louise’s relationship with Verrett, 47, cited by many as the reason’. 

Durek Verrett (pictured while holding a lecture in Stavanger, Norway) shares his interest in spirituality with the Norwegian princess

Princess Martha Louise of Norway announced her engagement to Durek in June.  The princess was previously married to Ari Behn, who she wed in 2002 and had three children together Maud Angelica, 19, Leah Isadora, 17, and Emma Tallulah, 14. They split in 2016, and Ari took his own life on Christmas Day in 2019.

The same year Princess Märtha Louise started dating Durek, the Norwegian royal house announced in 2019 that she would no longer use the title of princess in commercial contexts. 

The princess was previously married to Ari Behn, who she wed in 2002 and had three children together Maud Angelica, 19, Leah Isadora, 17, and Emma Tallulah, 14. They split in 2016, and Ari took his own life on Christmas Day in 2019. 

With a huge celebrity following, the belief he can talk to the spiritual world and very colourful history, Shaman Durek is hardly your typical royal groom.

But the couple’s shared interest in all things spiritual suggests the couple are well-suited, and indeed, and he has previously said of the royals ‘over years we’ve built such a lovely relationship. I love them’. 

Born Durek Verrett in Sacramento in November 1974, the groom-to-be claims he first became ‘aware’ of his shamanic abilities when he was five but that he didn’t start training until age 11.

King Vadar’s statement follows neighbouring monarch Queen Margrethe II of Denmark stripping four of her grandchildren of their His or Her Royal Highness status in September.

From January 1 2023, the children of her second son, Prince Joachim, who lives in France, Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, will become Counts and Countesses, and will be known as Their Excellencies.

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