Norwegian princess gives up royal duties to be with American ‘shaman’ who sees cancer as a choice

File Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her fiancé, self-proclaimed shaman Durek Verrett in Oslo, Norway (NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

File Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her fiancé, self-proclaimed shaman Durek Verrett in Oslo, Norway (NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise has given up her royal duties to pursue alternative medicine with her fiancé, an American shaman, the palace has announced.

The princess will retain her title but she relinquishes the role of royal patroness and will not represent the royal household.

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

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

“The Princess steps down from the role of Royal Patron which has defined the scope of her official duties for the Royal House and will not represent the Royal House at this time,” the palace said in a statement.

However, “in accordance with the wishes of the King (King Harald V), the Princess will retain her title”.

Princess Märtha Louise and Mr Verrett seek to “distinguish between their activities and the Royal House of Norway” and will not use the title Princess or refer to the Royal Family in social media or commercial activities, added the palace.

The couple have faced heavy criticism in Norway for allegedly using the princess’s royal title for commercial gain while promoting alternative healthcare methods.

Watch: Princess Martha Louise opened up about racism, white supremacy and self-education

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 was “aware of the importance of research-based knowledge” and felt grateful that “Norway has a high-quality healthcare system”.

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

“A warm hand, an acupuncture needle, a crystal, natural remedies, yoga, meditation or therapeutic conversation can, I believe, help improve the lives of many people,” he added.

Mr Verrett will not have a title or represent the Royal House of Norway when he and Märtha Louise marry, according to the palace. The couple, who have been together since May 2019, will be attending family occasions and events that are traditionally attended.

The princess has three daughters from her first marriage to Norwegian writer and artist Ari Behn in 2002. Her husband, who has spoken of depression, killed himself on Christmas Day 2019.

Mr Verrett, who calls himself a “6th generation shaman”, blamed criticism of their relationship on racism. He says he has “never experienced so 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 faced, particularly on social media.

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