Princess Märtha Louise of Norway

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Princess Märtha Louise
Prinsessan Märtha Louise av Norge.jpg
The Princess on 8 June 2013 at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill
Born (1971-09-22) 22 September 1971 (age 48)
The National Hospital,[1] Gaustad, Oslo, Norway
Ari Behn
(m. 2002; div. 2017)
Full name
Märtha Louise
FatherHarald V of Norway
MotherSonja Haraldsen

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway (born 22 September 1971) is the only daughter and elder child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja. She is fourth in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne, after her brother Haakon, and his children.

Early life[edit]

Princess Märtha Louise was born on 22 September 1971 at The National Hospital the Oslo University Hospital in Oslo, to the then Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja. Princess Märtha Louise was named after her late grandmother and her paternal great-great grandmother. At birth, she was not in line to the throne, because until 1990, only males could inherit the Norwegian throne (Salic law). She was christened a few months after her birth. Her godparents are King Olav V of Norway, Princess Margaretha of Sweden, Count Flemming of Rosenborg, Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Dagny Haraldsen, Haakon Haraldsen, Nils Jørgen Astrup and Ilmi Riddervold.

In 1973, Märtha Louise's younger brother was born Haakon Magnus. In 1990 the Norwegian constitution was altered, granting full cognatic primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This change only affects those born in 1990 or later. Females born between 1971 and 1990 (i.e. only Märtha Louise), were given succession rights, but their brothers would be before them in the line of succession, meaning that Prince Haakon still took precedence over Märtha Louise in the line of succession.

After the births of her brother's two children, Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus, Märtha Louise was relegated to fourth in line. The princess is also in the line of succession to the thrones of the sixteen Commonwealth realms, as a great-great-granddaughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

Education and career[edit]

Princess Märtha Louise is a certified physiotherapist, following education in Oslo and internship in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She has not practised her profession, however, choosing instead, from her fascination in traditional Norwegian folk tales as well as a love of music, to establish her own commercial entertainment business based on giving public and televised performances reciting folk tales and singing with well-known Norwegian choirs.[2] In December 2003, she took part in Oslo Gospel Choir's Christmas concert with a solo performance, included on the companion CD album.

On 1 January 2002, after Princess Märtha Louise started her own business, in order to work with more freedom from her constitutional role as a princess, she began paying income tax, and the King, after consulting her, issued a royal edict which removed Princess Märtha Louise's style of Royal Highness (she is entitled to the style Highness when abroad).[2] However, she retains her place in the line of succession, and, though her activities were reduced, she still carries out some public duties on behalf of the King.

After several postponements due to family births and her father's illness, during which the princess took on some representation duties, Princess Märtha Louise and her husband moved to New York City in October 2004. In 2004, her first book, a children's story about the first royal family of Norway was released – Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns. Accompanying the book is a CD version of the Princess reading her story aloud.

Princess Märtha Louise has studied physiotherapy, trained as a Rosen therapist and studied at an academy for holistic medicine.[2] She claims she can communicate with animals and angels and started her own alternative therapy center named Astarte Education, after one of the oldest goddesses in the Middle East.[3][4] The princess drew criticism in Norway after the announcement that she would start Astarte Education. The newspaper Bergens Tidende, called for her to give up her royal titles.[5] Norwegian state director of Health Lars E. Hanssen, Norwegian alternative medicine advocate Dr. Bernt Rognlien, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), religious historian Asbjørn Dyrendal and University of Oslo theology professor Inge Lønning all expressed misgivings about the princess's plans.[6]

On 11 August 2007, Märtha Louise defended the school on NRK, the Norwegian public service television network.[7]

On 2 October 2007, Princess Märtha Louise became the first member of the Norwegian Royal Family to ever appear in a court of law as she wanted to halt sales of a book entitled Martha's Angels.[8]

In 2007 the Princess was editor of the book "Prinsesse Märtha Louises eventyrlige verden, Eventyr fra jordens hjerte, Rodinia" containing 67 fairy tales from 50 countries.

Princess Märtha Louise's Fund[edit]

Princess Märtha Louise at a 2006 book signing in Minnesota, USA.

Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise's Fund was founded on 15 September 1972 and awards funds to projects carried out by non-governmental organisations in order to provide assistance to disabled children under the age of 16 in Norway. Princess Märtha Louise is the fund's chairperson. In 2005 the fund had assets of approximately NOK 13,285,000, and total annual allocations came to about NOK 500,000.[9]


In 2014, Princess Märtha Louise faced some criticism due to her association with British clairvoyant, Lisa Williams. Williams was in Oslo on 14 September 2014 and gave a seminar for Soulspring, formerly known as the Angel School, which Princess Märtha Louise co-founded. Williams is known for her claims she can communicate with the deceased. The Soulspring website carried the following message: “We in Soulspring do not communicate with dead souls in our work. And here is where our work is separate from Lisa’s. To be completely honest, we don't see the point of contacting the dead. They passed over to the other side for a reason and should be allowed to stay there." No one representing the royal family commented.[10]

Marriage and family[edit]

On 24 May 2002 Princess Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn in Trondheim.[11][12] The couple have three daughters:

The family has lived in Islington, London and Lommedalen, Bærum.[13][14]

On 5 August 2016, the Royal Court announced that Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn were separating and starting divorce proceedings but would have joint custody of their three daughters.[15] The couple were divorced in 2017.[16]

In May 2019, the princess announced that she is in a relationship with an American citizen, a shaman named Durek Verrett (born on 17 November 1974).[17][18][19] His father was from Haiti and his mother is of Norwegian-Indian heritage.

Titles, styles and honours[edit]


Royal monogram
  • 22 September 1971 – 1 February 2002: Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
  • 1 February 2002 – present: Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway[notes 1][notes 2]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]



  1. ^ This style is used when she is not in Norway. In Norway, the style "Highness" is not used.
  2. ^ In 2002, the King (with Princess Märtha Louise's assent) removed Princess Märtha Louise's style of Royal Highness and instead styled her as Highness. Her current title and name after marriage is Princess Märtha Louise. This was meant to loosen connections between the Royal Family and her business life.[citation needed] She doesn't have any form of address in Norway.
  3. ^ Not a state decoration but a personal gift from Queen Beatrix.


  1. ^ "RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Descendants of Queen Victoria".
  2. ^ a b c ""La princesa renuncia al título"". Hola SA. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Princess claims clairvoyant powers, aims to share them". Aftenposten. 24 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  4. ^ Norway princess 'talks to angels', BBC News, 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007
  5. ^ BT Leder (13 August 2007): Dropp prinsessetittelen, Märtha (in Norwegian) Bergens Tidende, retrieved 27 July 2013
  6. ^ Nina Berglund/NTB (25 July 2007). "Princess draws more flak". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  7. ^ Princess chastises media Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Rolleiv Solholm,, 12 August 2007.
  8. ^ Princess Martha Louise takes the witness stand Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Aftenposten, 2 October 2007.
  9. ^ Royal House web page on the Princess' fund Retrieved 6 November 2007
  10. ^ "Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  11. ^ "'Iconic royal wedding gowns". Harpers Bazaar.
  12. ^ born 1972 as Ari Mikael Bjørshol; he later took his grandmother's name.
  13. ^ Arve Vassbotten (25 August 2012): Flytter til London om noen dager Archived 27 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine (in Norwegian) Se og Hør, retrieved 27 July 2013
  14. ^ "Royal Oops! Norway's Princess Martha Louise Forgets to Turn off Oven: 'I Am Glad the House Didn't Burn Down'". Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Prinsesse Märtha Louise og Ari Behn har bestemt seg for å gå fra hverandre [Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn decided to go apart]". The Royal Court. Retrieved 5 August 2016. (in Norwegian)
  16. ^ "Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise". The Royal Court. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Norway's Princess Martha Louise reveals relationship with American shaman". The Star (Malaysia). 22 May 2019. Princess Martha Louise of Norway opened up about her romantic partner, an American shaman, last May 13. The daughter of Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja introduced her boyfriend Shaman Durek (real name: Durek Verrett) with portraits of them in a lengthy Instagram post last week
  18. ^ "Princess Martha Louise of Norway Shares First Photos with Her New American Boyfriend". Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Royal SHOCK: Divorced Princess reveals new boyfriend on INSTAGRAM". HELLO!. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Photo".
  21. ^ "Photo".
  22. ^ "Photo".
  23. ^ "Photo". Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Photo".
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Photo".
  26. ^ "Photo".
  27. ^ "Photo".
  28. ^ "Photo".
  29. ^ a b c d e "Photo".
  30. ^ "Photo".
  31. ^ "Photo".
  32. ^ "Photo".
  33. ^ Iceland
  34. ^ "Sřk | Scanpix" (in Norwegian). 9 January 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  35. ^ "Photo".
  36. ^ "Photo".
  37. ^ "Photo".
  38. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado (PDF), 3 June 2006
  39. ^ "Photo".
  40. ^ "Photo".
  41. ^ a b "Princess Martha Louise wearing the royal order of the polar star and King Carl XVI Gustaf's 50th birthday medal". 5 January 2016.
  42. ^ a b "National Archives of Norway". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  43. ^ "National Archives of Norway-listed as Joh. C. Ulrichsen". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  44. ^ a b "National Archives of Norway". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  45. ^ a b "Image of Grave Site". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  46. ^ "National Archives of Norway-listed as Maja Ulrichsen". Retrieved 21 August 2014.

External links[edit]

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Born: 22 September 1971
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway
Line of succession to the Norwegian throne
4th position
Succeeded by
Maud Behn
Preceded by
Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway
Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Maud, daughter of Edward VII