Princess gives up royal duties amid fiancé questions

By JAN M. OLSEN – Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Princess Märtha Louise, the daughter of King Harald of Norway, said Tuesday that she will no longer officially represent the Norwegian royal house following “many questions about me and the role of my fiancé.”

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

At least one foundation for which Märtha Louise served as godmother subsequently ended its relationship with the princess.

“I have decided that at this time I will no longer perform official duties for the Royal Household,” she said in a statement released by the palace, adding that the decision was made in coordination. with his parents “to create peace around the royal household.

The princess will retain her title, but the palace said she has informed organizations where she still serves as godmother that she is relinquishing the role.

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

“I’m sorry the princess no longer represents the royal household,” Harald told a press conference on the matter. The 82-year-old king said ‘we’re okay to disagree’.

“We looked at this process from all sides,” added his wife, Queen Sonja. “It was a unanimous decision.”

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

“It also has to consider 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 would not use the title Princess or refer to the Royal Family in social media or commercial activities.

Bo Gleditsch, general secretary of the Norwegian Rheumatism Association, told Norwegian news agency NTB it was “an orderly and wise move by our boss”.

“She solved 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 while promoting alternative healthcare methods.

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

Verrett, 47, will not hold a title or represent the royal house of Norway when he and Märtha Louise marry, according to the statement. The couple, who have been together since May 2019, according to Norwegian media, will attend family 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 move to California with them. The palace did not say whether Märtha Louise’s change would have an effect on her daughters.

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

According to a poll published last month by the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, 68% of respondents said they wanted to keep the monarchy. When Norwegian broadcaster NRK asked the same question in 2017, support for the royal household stood at 81%.

This story corrects Märtha Louise’s age to 51 and corrects that Crown Prince Haakon is her younger brother, not her eldest.

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