Norway princess gives up royal duties to be with American ‘shaman’ who calls cancer a choice

Norway’s Princess Märtha Louise has relinquished her royal duties to pursue alternative medicine with her fiance, an American shaman, the palace has said.

The princess will retain her title but she is giving up the role of royal patron and will not represent the royal house.

The 51-year-old princess, the daughter of Norway’s King Harald, got engaged in June to Durek Verrett, an African-American Hollywood spiritual guru who calls himself a shaman and a spiritual healer on his website.

Her relationship with Mr Verrett caused controversy in the country as the self-proclaimed shaman said in his book that cancer was a choice and claimed to have predicted 9/11 attacks on America.

“The Princess is relinquishing the role as royal patron that has set the framework of her official duties for the Royal House, and will not be representing the Royal House at the present time,” the palace said in a statement.

However, “in accordance with the king’s (King Harald V) wishes, the princess will keep her title”.

Princess Märtha Louise and Mr Verrett are seeking to “distinguish more clearly between their activities and the Royal House of Norway” and will not use the title of princess or refer to royals in social media or commercial activity, the palace added.

The couple came under intense criticism in Norway for allegedly using the princess’s royal title for commercial gain along with promoting alternative health care methods.

Princess Märtha Louise claims to be able to “speak with angels” following her involvement in alternative treatments. She also started a school to help people “get in touch with their angels”.

In a statement, Princess Louise said she is “aware of the importance of research-based knowledge” and feels grateful that “Norway have a high-quality health-care system”.

But believes “alternative methods can be an important supplement to help from the conventional medical establishment”.

“A warm hand, an acupuncture needle, a crystal, natural remedies, yoga, meditation or therapeutic conversation can, I believe, help to make life better for many individuals,” it added.

Mr Verrett will not have a title or represent Norway’s royal house when he and Märtha Louise marry, according to the palace. The couple, who have been together since May 2019, will attend family-related occasions and events where it is a tradition for royals to participate.

The Princess has three daughters from her first marriage to Norwegian writer and artist Ari Behn in 2002. Her husband, who spoke about suffering from depression, died by suicide on Christmas Day 2019.

Mr Verrett, who calls himself a “6th Generation Shaman”, has blamed the criticism of their relationship on racism. He said he “never experienced as much racism” as when he came to Norway, while comparing himself to “geniuses” like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison who were “misunderstood”.

The palace addressed the issue of racism, saying: “We deplore the racist attitudes that Durek Verrett has had to contend with, especially on social media.”

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