Princess Märtha Louise of Norway

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Princess Märtha Louise
Born (1971-09-22) 22 September 1971 (age 52)
The National Hospital,[1] Oslo, Norway
(m. 2002; div. 2017)
PartnerDurek Verrett
FatherHarald V of Norway
MotherSonja Haraldsen

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway (born 22 September 1971) is a member of the Norwegian royal family, a businesswoman and a self-described clairvoyant.[2][3]

The only daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, Märtha Louise is fourth in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne, after her younger brother Haakon, and his children, but is not a member of the royal house.[4] Like her aunts Ragnhild and Astrid, she had no inheritance rights to the Norwegian throne at the time of her birth due to Norway's agnatic primogeniture succession. This only changed in 1990, when the Norwegian parliament adopted male-preference primogeniture succession for those born before 1990, which made Märtha Louise third in line at the time, after her brother.

Märtha Louise is active as a private businesswoman and alternative therapist, and does not carry out official engagements on behalf of the royal house.[4][5] From 2007 to 2018 she led her own alternative therapy center, commonly known in Norway as the "angel school" (Norwegian: engleskolen), which focused on clairvoyance and communication with angels and communication with the dead.[6] She was married to the late writer and visual artist Ari Behn from 2002 to 2017. In May 2019, she publicly announced her romantic relationship and professional collaboration with Durek Verrett, a conspiracy theorist[7][8] and self-described shaman[9] who has served time in prison[10] and who has been characterized by Norwegian media and other critics as a conman.[7][11][12]

As part of her withdrawal into private professional life, she lost the style "Royal Highness" in 2002; the lower style "Highness" is occasionally used informally abroad, but she does not hold a style in Norway.[citation needed] She has often faced criticism in Norway for her claims of being clairvoyant and for exploiting her constitutional title as princess commercially;[13][14][7] in 2019, the royal court announced that she will no longer use the title princess in her business activities as a clairvoyant.[15] In 2022, she relinquished her remaining royal duties to concentrate on alternative medicine.[16]

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 paternal grandmother and great-great-grandmother. At birth, she was not in line to the throne, because until 1990, only males could inherit the Norwegian throne. She was baptized 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, Haakon Magnus, was born. In 1990 the Norwegian constitution was altered, granting full cognatic primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of sex, 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.

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.[17] 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, 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 conventionally accorded the lesser style Highness abroad, although this style has no legal standing in Norway).[17] 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.[17] 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.[18][19] Astarte Education offered a three-year course on healing, readings, and angels.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] Swedish author Jan Guillou questioned the princess's mental health.[20]

On 11 August 2007, Märtha Louise defended the school on NRK, the Norwegian public service television network. In the interview, she regarded her relationship with angels as "creatures of light, which gave her a feeling of a strong presence and a strong and loving support." She responded to criticism that she should leave the Church of Norway by stating she still considered herself a Christian that was thankful the Church still had room for her.[23]

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, which used her photo on its cover without permission. She stated that she felt "commercially exploited" by the book's use of her photo, which she regarded as misuse of her name and picture. Film critic Pål Bang-Hansen stated that Märtha Louise was a "thief and hypocrite", claiming that she had stolen translated texts from his father's books.[24]

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. In 2009, she and her Astarte Education partner Elisabeth Samnøy published Møt din skyttsengel (Meet your guardian angel), followed by Englenes hemmeligheter. Deres natur, språk og hvordan du åpner opp for dem (The secrets of angels: Their nature, language, and how you open up for them).[20]

Princess Märtha Louise's Fund[edit]

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

Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise's Fund was founded on 15 September 1972 and awards funds to projects carried out by non-governmental organizations 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.[25]


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 that 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.[26]

Marriage and family[edit]

On 24 May 2002, Princess Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn (1972–2019) in Trondheim.[27][28] The couple had three daughters: Maud Angelica, Leah Isadora, and Emma Tallulah – all of whom are untitled. The family lived in Islington, London and Lommedalen, Bærum.[29][30] Emma Tallulah Behn is a junior member of the national equestrian team, and won a bronze medal during the Norwegian National Horse Jumping Championships in 2021.[31]

The couple divorced in 2017.[32] In 2016, the Royal Court had announced that Märtha Louise and Behn would have joint custody of their three daughters.[33] Ari Behn died by suicide on Christmas Day 2019.[34]

In May 2019, the princess announced that she was in a relationship with an American citizen, a self-styled shaman named Durek Verrett (born 17 November 1974).[35][36][37] He has naturally faced strong criticism in Norway[38][39][40] and been characterized by Norwegian media and other critics as a conman.[41][42] Together Märtha Louise and Verrett have organised seminars titled "The Princess and the Shaman," which also were widely criticised.[43][14][44][45] Specifically the pair has suggested that cancer is a state of choice and the two have sold medallions online said to ward off Covid-19 without any scientific evidence to support such claims. Additionally, Märtha Louise has claimed she is able to communicate with angels.[46] Verrett also claims to have been initiated spiritually by an American woman who calls herself "Princess Susana von Radić of Croatia".[40] In June 2022, the princess announced that she and Verrett were engaged.[47] They are set to be married during a private ceremony on 24 August 2024 in Geiranger.[48]

The newspaper iTromsø noted that Märtha Louise has faced extensive criticism for associating with a conspiracy theorist and over her "commercialization and abuse of the title 'princess'".[49]


  • Underveis : et portrett av prinsesse Märtha Louise, 2001, ISBN 9788252543711.
  • Fra hjerte til hjerte ("From Heart to Heart"), 2002 in collaboration with husband Ari Behn, is a book about their wedding, ISBN 9788252543711.
  • Why Kings And Queens Don't Wear Crowns, 2005 in collaboration with Svein Nyhus (Illustrator), ISBN 9781575340388.
  • Eventyr fra jordens hjerte: Rodinia, 2007 (as editor) in collaboration with Kirsti Birkeland and Kristin Lyhmann (Editors), ISBN 9788292904008.
  • Englenes hemmeligheter: Deres natur, språk og hvordan du åpner opp for dem, 2012 in collaboration with Elisabeth Nordeng, ISBN 9788202383152.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 1971–2002: Her Royal Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
  • 2002–present: Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway[32]

On 8 November 2022, Märtha Louise announced that she will no longer have royal duties within the Norwegian royal house but will retain the title of Princess of Norway.[16]


Royal monogram




  1. ^ Not a state decoration but a personal gift from Queen Beatrix.


  1. ^ "RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Descendants of Queen Victoria".
  2. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin. "Gwyneth Paltrow, a Clairvoyant Princess, and the Latest Royal Controversy". Vanity Fair.
  3. ^ "Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire". 16 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Märtha Louises bassengbråk". Dagbladet. Prinsesse Märtha Louise er i dag ikke en del av kongehuset. Hun frasa seg privilegier, tittelen kongelig høyhet og apanasjen i 2002 for å leve av egen inntekt. Siden 2007 har hun omsatt for godt over ti millioner kroner på engleskolen og andre opptredener. [Märtha Louise is not a part of the royal house. She relinquished her privileges, the title of royal highness and the appanage in 2002 in order to live on her own income]
  5. ^ "Privat prinsesse". NRK.
  6. ^ "Märthas engleskole solgte "kontakt med de døde"".
  7. ^ a b c "Norway princess quits royal duties for alternative medicine". BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2022. Verrett [has been] described as 'a charlatan', a conman and a conspiracy theorist
  8. ^ "Norwegians resist spell of Martha Louise's fiancé Durek Verrett". The Times. Retrieved 11 November 2022. He is also a conspiracy theorist with unusual views on everything from cancer to Covid
  9. ^ "Princess' shaman issues apology".
  10. ^ "Einzelhaft & Zwangsjacke: Ihr Durek berichtet über traumatische Gefängniszeit". Bunte. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Hegnar: Cappelen Damm forsto at Durek Verretts bok er søppel". 25 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Vantrú: The sham of the shaman".
  13. ^ "Princess stirs up critics again".
  14. ^ a b Hirsti, Kristine (13 May 2019). "Kritiserer 'The Princess and The Shaman': – Bruker rått det at hun er kongelig". NRK.
  15. ^ Svendsen, Maiken (7 August 2019). "Märtha Louise slutter å bruke prinsessetittelen i kommersiell sammenheng". NRK.
  16. ^ a b Slow, Oliver (8 November 2022). "Norway princess quits royal duties for alternative medicine". BBC News. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  17. ^ a b c "La princesa renuncia al título". Hola SA. Archived from the original on 23 January 2002. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Princess claims clairvoyant powers, aims to share them". Aftenposten. 24 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  19. ^ Norway princess 'talks to angels', BBC News, 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007
  20. ^ a b c Kraft, Siv Ellen (2015). "Royal Angels in the News". In James Lewis (ed.). Handbook of Nordic new religions. Boston: Brill. pp. 190–202. ISBN 978-90-04-29244-4. OCLC 910964138.
  21. ^ BT Leder (13 August 2007): Dropp prinsessetittelen, Märtha (in Norwegian) Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 27 July 2013
  22. ^ Nina Berglund/NTB (25 July 2007). "Princess draws more flak". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  23. ^ Princess chastises media Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Rolleiv Solholm,, 12 August 2007.
  24. ^ Princess Martha Louise takes the witness stand Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Aftenposten, 2 October 2007.
  25. ^ Royal House web page on the Princess' fund Retrieved 6 November 2007
  26. ^ "Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  27. ^ "'Iconic royal wedding gowns". Harpers Bazaar.
  28. ^ born 1972 as Ari Mikael Bjørshol; he later took his grandmother's name.
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ "Royal Oops! Norway's Princess Martha Louise Forgets to Turn off Oven: 'I Am Glad the House Didn't Burn Down'". People. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  31. ^ "Childrenlandslaget". Norges Rytterforbund. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  32. ^ a b "Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise". The Royal Court. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  33. ^ "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)
  34. ^ Robinson, Matthew (26 December 2019). "Ari Behn, ex-husband of Norwegian princess, takes his own life - World". The Times. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  35. ^ "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
  36. ^ "Princess Martha Louise of Norway Shares First Photos with Her New American Boyfriend". People. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  37. ^ "Royal Shock: Divorced Princess reveals new boyfriend on Instagram". Hello. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  38. ^ Krøger, Cathrine (15 October 2019). "Gal manns tale".
  39. ^ Husøy, May Synnøve Rogne Eirik. "Märthas sjaman-kjæreste sier han kan snu atomer – fysikkprofessor kaller det "sludder"". Aftenposten.
  40. ^ a b Klausen, Aslaug Olette. "Kurerer kreft om den syke har sterk nok vilje til å helbrede seg selv". Fri tanke – nettavis for livssyn og livssynspolitikk.
  41. ^ "Hegnar: Cappelen Damm forsto at Durek Verretts bok er søppel". 25 October 2019.
  42. ^ "Vantrú: The sham of the shaman".
  43. ^ Nikolaisen, Rudi (21 May 2019). "Sjaman-svada fra Märtha og Durek".
  44. ^ Fjeld, Johannes (13 May 2019). "Fillerister "sjaman"-foredrag".
  45. ^ Stephansen, Erik (17 October 2019). "Nå er det blitt så pinlig at hele kongeriket rødmer". Nettavisen.
  46. ^ "Princess Martha Louise: Norway's princess sets date to wed shaman". BBC News. 13 September 2023. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  47. ^ Cathrine Gonsholt Ighanian, Marthe Stoksvik, Camilla Norvik and Jørn Pettersen (7 June 2022). "Prinsesse Märtha Louise og Durek Verrett er forlovet" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang. Retrieved 7 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ "Norwegian princess to wed Hollywood 'shaman' Durek Verrett". The Guardian. 13 September 2023. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  49. ^ "Selvrettferdig og virkelighetsfjernt fra Märtha Louise". iTromsø. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  50. ^ Iceland
  51. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado (PDF), 3 June 2006

External links[edit]

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Born: 22 September 1971
Lines of succession
Preceded by Line of succession to the Norwegian throne
4th position
Succeeded by