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 49)
The National Hospital,[1] Oslo, Norway
(m. 2002; div. 2017)
  • Maud Angelica Behn
  • Leah Isadora Behn
  • Emma Tallulah Behn
Märtha Louise
FatherHarald V of Norway
MotherSonja Haraldsen

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway (born 22 September 1971) is a Norwegian self-described clairvoyant[2][3] and the only daughter and elder child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja. She was married to the late writer and visual artist Ari Behn from 2002 to 2017.

She is fourth in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne, after her 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 her third in line at the time, after her younger brother.

She is active as a private businesswoman and alternative therapist, with few official public engagements.[4][5] From 2007 to 2018 she led her own alternative therapy center, commonly known in Norway as the "angel school" (Norwegian: engleskolen), which provided training in clairvoyance and communication with angels and communication with the dead.[6] In May 2019 she publicly announced her romantic relationship and professional collaboration with Durek Verrett, a self-described shaman.[7]

As part of her withdrawal into private professional life she lost the style "Royal Highness" in 2002, and she holds no style in Norway; the lower style "Highness" is occasionally used informally abroad, but does not officially exist and is not used in Norway. She has often faced criticism in Norway for her claims of being clairvoyant and for exploiting her constitutional title as princess commercially;[8][9] in 2019 the royal court announced that she will no longer use the title princess in her business activities as a clairvoyant.[10]

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, 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.[11] 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 conventionally accorded the lesser style Highness abroad, although this style has no legal standing in Norway).[11] 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.[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

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 stole translated texts from his father's books.[17]

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, 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 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.[18]


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.[19]

Marriage and family[edit]

On 24 May 2002 Princess Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn (1972–2019) in Trondheim.[20][21] 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.[22][23]

The couple divorced in 2017.[24] In 2016, the Royal Court had announced that Märtha Louise and Behn would have joint custody of their three daughters.[25] Ari Behn died by suicide on Christmas Day 2019.[26]

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).[27][28][29] He has faced strong criticism in Norway[30][31][32] and been characterized by Norwegian media and other critics as a conman.[33][34] Together Märtha Louise and Verrett have organised seminars titled "The Princess and the Shaman," which also were widely criticised.[35][9][36][37] Verrett claims to have been initiated spiritually by an American woman who calls herself "Princess Susana von Radic of Croatia".[32]


  • 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 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. ^ 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 relinguished 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. ^ "Princess' shaman issues apology".
  8. ^ "Princess stirs up critics again".
  9. ^ a b Hirsti, Kristine (13 May 2019). "Kritiserer 'The Princess and The Shaman': – Bruker rått det at hun er kongelig". NRK.
  10. ^ Svendsen, Maiken (7 August 2019). "Märtha Louise slutter å bruke prinsessetittelen i kommersiell sammenheng". NRK.
  11. ^ a b c "La princesa renuncia al título". Hola SA. Archived from the original on 23 January 2002. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Princess claims clairvoyant powers, aims to share them". Aftenposten. 24 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  13. ^ Norway princess 'talks to angels', BBC News, 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007
  14. ^ BT Leder (13 August 2007): Dropp prinsessetittelen, Märtha (in Norwegian) Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 27 July 2013
  15. ^ Nina Berglund/NTB (25 July 2007). "Princess draws more flak". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  16. ^ Princess chastises media Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Rolleiv Solholm,, 12 August 2007.
  17. ^ Princess Martha Louise takes the witness stand Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Aftenposten, 2 October 2007.
  18. ^ Royal House web page on the Princess' fund Retrieved 6 November 2007
  19. ^ "Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  20. ^ "'Iconic royal wedding gowns". Harpers Bazaar.
  21. ^ born 1972 as Ari Mikael Bjørshol; he later took his grandmother's name.
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise". The Royal Court. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  25. ^ "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)
  26. ^ The Times (UK) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "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
  28. ^ "Princess Martha Louise of Norway Shares First Photos with Her New American Boyfriend". People. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Royal Shock: Divorced Princess reveals new boyfriend on Instagram". Hello. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  30. ^ Krøger, Cathrine (15 October 2019). "Gal manns tale".
  31. ^ Husøy, May Synnøve Rogne Eirik. "Märthas sjaman-kjæreste sier han kan snu atomer – fysikkprofessor kaller det "sludder"". Aftenposten.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ "Hegnar: Cappelen Damm forsto at Durek Verretts bok er søppel". 25 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Vantrú: The sham of the shaman".
  35. ^ Nikolaisen, Rudi (21 May 2019). "Sjaman-svada fra Märtha og Durek".
  36. ^ Fjeld, Johannes (13 May 2019). "Fillerister "sjaman"-foredrag".
  37. ^ Stephansen, Erik (17 October 2019). "Nå er det blitt så pinlig at hele kongeriket rødmer". Nettavisen.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Photo".
  39. ^ "Photo".
  40. ^ "Photo". Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  41. ^ "Photo".
  42. ^ a b c d e f "Photo".
  43. ^ "Photo". Hello.
  44. ^ "Photo".
  45. ^ "Photo".
  46. ^ a b c d e "Photo".
  47. ^ "Photo".
  48. ^ "Photo".
  49. ^ "Photo".
  50. ^ Iceland
  51. ^ "Sřk | Scanpix" (in Norwegian). 9 January 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  52. ^ "Photo".
  53. ^ "Photo".
  54. ^ "Photo".
  55. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado (PDF), 3 June 2006
  56. ^ "Photo".
  57. ^ 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.
  58. ^ a b "National Archives of Norway". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  59. ^ "National Archives of Norway-listed as Joh. C. Ulrichsen". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  60. ^ a b "National Archives of Norway". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  61. ^ a b "Image of Grave Site". Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  62. ^ "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