Princess Märtha Louise Of Norway, Through The Years

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway's childhood was filled with the usual royal protocols and upper-class activities, like horseback riding, singing in a choir, playing the flute, and Norwegian folk dancing (via The Royal House of Norway). However, the princess grew up and took a less traditional path, expressing her unconventional views and beliefs in the supernatural. Now 51 years old, Märtha Louise advocates alternative medicine and considers herself a clairvoyant (via The New York Times). "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," the princess wrote in an official statement outlining her beliefs (per The Royal House of Norway).

Creating controversy in Norway, Märtha Louise announced her engagement to celebrity shaman Durek Verrett in June 2022. The pair have been open about their intentions to take on alternative medicine business ventures (per Instagram). With Princess Märtha Louise choosing to pave a path away from family tradition, the royal family announced that she would no longer undertake formal duties as of November 2022 (per The Royal House of Norway). Märtha Louise's controversial endeavors ruffled feathers long before Prince Harry and Meghan left Buckingham Palace. Here's a spotlight on the princess' key life events to date.

Princess Märtha Louise's parents wanted her to have a regular upbringing

Born in Oslo, Norway, on September 22, 1971, Princess Märtha Louise is the oldest child of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway. The princess has a younger brother, Crown Prince Haakon (per The Royal House of Norway). The king and queen wanted Märtha Louise to have a normal childhood, so she attended a local school. Still, of course, being an affluent royal, she took part in upper-class activities. After learning to horseback ride as a child, she is still an avid equestrian and, as an adult, attended the University of Oxford (via The Royal House of Norway).

Despite her parents' intention to give their daughter a normal childhood, Märtha Louise has expressed having unusual experiences. According to Express, she opened up to a Norwegian podcast about having nightmares as a child that she believes are due to a Nazi dying by suicide in her childhood bedroom. The princess, who now calls herself a clairvoyant, said her connection to the supernatural started at an early age and that she would "see very special things" during her childhood (via Express).

The Norwegian constitution was changed after her birth, but her brother is heir to the throne

Princess Märtha Louise is the firstborn. But because she is female, she would only be heir to the throne if her parents didn't have a son, according to Norway's constitution (at the time of her birth). However, two years after she was born, her parents had a boy, Prince Haakon, who is first in line to be Norway's next king (per The Royal House of Norway). The crown prince has two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus. This makes Märtha Louise fourth in line for the throne (per The Royal House of Norway).

A constitutional amendment was made in 1990 to change the line of succession in Norway and allow the eldest-born child to be first in line to the throne regardless of gender (via The Royal House of Norway). However, Märtha Louise will still not be considered first to the throne because, according to the royal family, "it was decided that males would continue to take precedence over females for children born prior to 1990."

According to Vanity Fair, there were moments when she questioned her royal status and wished her parents were not the king and queen of Norway but something more ordinary. In addition, the young royal yearned for a childhood away from public scrutiny, and she was not fazed by the idea of her brother becoming crown prince.

She married author Ari Behn, but they later divorced

In May 2002, Princess Märtha Louise married Ari Behn in a lavish royal ceremony. According to News in English, Behn was happily welcomed into the royal family by his in-laws. However, the pair were criticized for having an "alternative" lifestyle, and Behn was publicly perceived as "a high-profile self-styled bohemian author not viewed as a traditional royal partner." During the marriage, the couple had three daughters. They tried to stay out of the Norwegian spotlight by living in London as a family. Unfortunately, in 2017, the pair finalized their divorce (per The Royal House of Norway).

Märtha Louise's divorce was reportedly amicable, and the pair shared custody of their three children. "It's unspeakably sad for both of us to discover that the road ahead doesn't run as it once did. Like so many others, we've grown apart," the princess said of her divorce in a statement (via People).

Märtha Louise is a mom to three daughters from her first marriage

Princess Märtha Louise is a mother of three daughters from her first marriage to Ari Behn. Her eldest daughter, Maud Angelica Behn, was born on April 29, 2003. Her second daughter, Leah Isadora Behn, was born on April 8, 2005, and her youngest, Emma Tallulah Behn, was born on September 29, 2008. Despite the princess' alternative beliefs, her daughters were christened in the Palace Chapel (per The Royal House of Norway).

In an interview with Norwegian women's magazine Kvinner og Klær, Märtha Louise opened up about motherhood, revealing she was not a fan of becoming a mom until later in life when she met her nephew (via Royal Central). Now, she puts her children first and considers motherhood a gift that has made her more efficient. "One becomes rounder from being a mum; you learn to take things more on the fly," said the princess.

Märtha Louise's first husband tragically died

Tragically, Princess Märtha Louise's first husband, Ari Behn, a writer and the father of her children, died by suicide on Christmas in 2019 (per People). The Norwegian royal family released a statement in January 2020. The royal family thanked the public for their messages and kind gestures and addressed Behn's emotional pain. "Sometimes life is too hard to bear. For some individuals, nothing helps to alleviate the darkness, not even their love for those who are closest to them. Some see no other solution than to leave this life. Those who are left behind must live on — all the poorer without the person they loved," the statement said.

The princess addressed her husband's death and its impact on her life when she was interviewed by Tessy Antony de Nassau, the former princess of Luxembourg, on the Zoom O'Clock podcast. "You can get stuck in that sorrow, and you can go into a pit of depression, which I did, and you can get out of it as well," said the princess.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Märtha Louise lost her title in 2002 to pursue her work as a clairvoyant

In 2002, Princess Märtha Louise stopped being "her royal highness" (per Royal Central). According to Vanity Fair, the princess gave up the title and her annual allowance of $1 million "to lead a more ordinary life and pursue a career in the entertainment industry." Although she is trained in physiotherapy, in the years that followed her losing her title, Märtha Louise immersed herself in unconventional work. In 2007, she made it publicly known that she considered herself a clairvoyant and could educate the public on how to talk to angels, per Reuters.

Following her new business ventures, in 2019, the royal family announced that the princess and the royal family had agreed that Märtha Louise would no longer use the title of princess in her business activities (per People). The princess also released a statement on her Instagram, writing, "From now on I will not use my princess title in a commercial context. That is, in all commercial contexts, I only use Märtha Louise."

She is active on social media and considers herself an agent of change

To separate her personal life and business ventures from her royal identity, Princess Märtha Louise has set up two Instagram accounts. Using her nonroyal Instagram account, she refers to herself as an entrepreneur and an "agent of change" who wants "to see people knowing their true power through a social transformation." The account is filled with Märtha Louise's travel photos, business promotions, and photos of her shaman fiance and her family.

In one Instagram post, she poses in a fancy red dress and uses the caption to reflect on 2022, calling it "a challenging year" but one that was "filled with joy, happiness, and love." The hopeful post seems to refer to the backlash she received after announcing her engagement to her controversial fiance and subsequently giving up her royal duties. The princess ends the post by encouraging her followers to walk into 2023 with respect and love and to avoid judging others, as judgment is something the high-profile royal can't seem to avoid.

Märtha Louise is engaged to a celebrity shaman with ties to Gwyneth Paltrow

In June 2022, Princess Märtha Louise and celebrity spiritual mentor Durek Verrett made their relationship public and shared that they would tie the knot. Verrett shared the news on Instagram, posting a photo of himself with his bride-to-be. He captioned the photo by sharing his excitement to be engaged. "I'm overjoyed with tears that I get to spend the rest of my life with the most pure-hearted, angelic, wise, powerhouse woman who represents all levels of a goddess in my eyes," Verrett wrote.

Verrett, a friend of Gwyneth Paltrow who has worked with her Goop brand, told Vanity Fair he showed Märtha Louise's engagement ring to Paltrow for her approval. "I knew she's very particular about nice things, so I wanted her to be the first to see it," he told Vanity Fair. Luckily, Paltrow was a fan of the ring. "Having a stamp of approval from a friend such as her made me happy," Verrett said.

The princess and her fiance have both faced criticism for their beliefs

Princess Märtha Louise and her fiance Durek Verrett have been criticized for their beliefs in alternative medicine and the supernatural. Although the princess considered herself a clairvoyant before meeting her spiritual guru partner, their beliefs as a couple have not been popular in Norway. Verrett in particular has come under fire for saying some unfounded things, such as suggesting getting cancer was a choice and claiming to be a "hybrid species of reptilian" (via the New York Times).

According to a poll published by Norwegian news outlet Aftenposten in 2012, 68% of those surveyed didn't believe Märtha Louise can talk to angels, and almost half those surveyed (47%) thought her alternative views hurt the Norwegian royal family's reputation. More recently, Märtha Louise's union to a Hollywood shaman has not been a walk in the park for the royal family. The princess' engagement was likely the catalyst for an agreement between the family and the princess whereby it was announced she would no longer undertake any official duties representing the royal family, per The Royal House of Norway.

Märtha Louise has responded to backlash about her relationship

Since receiving public criticism about her relationship with fiance Durek Verrett, Princess Märtha Louise has responded to the negativity on several occasions. She took to Instagram to express her deep concern about the racial nature of the backlash toward her partner and even said the pair had received death threats because of their relationship.

In the lengthy Instagram post featuring a romantic photograph of the couple, she said that since being with Verrett, she has received a "crash course in how white supremacy is at play." She went on to describe her disappointment toward how Verrett has been treated and stated that her "friends assume he lies about everything" and that the press has unfairly represented him as dishonest and threatening to the royal family.

Speaking to Vanity Fair about the negative attitudes toward her fiance, Märtha Louise said her family was slow to warm to her relationship and that the Norwegian don't quite get it. "I don't know if I can say that much about it, to be honest. It's very conflicting. Here in America, you're more open to it," she said. "In Norway, it's very, very, extremely controversial. I should be with a CEO or a lord or someone of a high rank of some sort. To be with a shaman, that's very, extremely, terribly out of the box. It's crazy."

She officially gave up her royal duties in 2022

A few months after announcing her engagement to spiritual guru Durek Verrett, Princess Märtha Louise released an Instagram video to announce that she will no longer take on official duties representing the Norwegian royal family. In the video posted in November 2022, she is seated next to Verrett. She begins by explaining, "Every time a person in the royal family gets engaged, it creates media storms." The controversial royal revealed that she had agreed with her family to no longer represent them officially. The video's caption stated that she would define the separation between her role as "princess of Norway and as a businesswoman."

In an official statement released by the Norwegian royal family, it was emphasized that the decision for the princess to step back was amicable. "The princess has therefore decided, in consultation with his majesty the king and other close family members, that she will not carry out official duties for the royal house at the present time," said the statement (via The Royal House of Norway). Although the princess has relinquished royal duties, the royal family said Märtha Louise would still keep her "princess" title and that her fiance is a welcome part of the family, although he will not represent the royal house in any capacity.