OSLO (AFP): Norway’s Princess Martha Louise, the oldest child of King Harald and Queen Sonja, will marry self-proclaimed shaman Durek Verrett on August 31, 2024, the couple announced on Wednesday.
The romance between the 51-year-old princess and Verrett, a Hollywood spiritual guru, has not gone down well in the Scandinavian country, where his alternative medicine methods and statements have seen him labelled a “quack”.
The wedding will be held in the town of Geiranger, on the shores of a fjord of the same name, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwestern Norway.
“We are incredibly happy to be able to celebrate our love in Geiranger’s beautiful surroundings,” the couple said in a statement.
Martha Louise and Durek Verrett announced their engagement in June 2022, receiving the blessing of King Harald who also married a commoner when he wed Sonja in 1968.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, the king, queen and Crown Prince Haakon congratulated the couple and said they were “happy to welcome Durek Verrett into the family”.
The African-American, who calls himself a “sixth generation shaman” and counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Antonio Banderas among his followers, has made waves in Norway over the years.
– ‘A charlatan, a quack’ –
He has suggested cancer is a choice, and recommended exercises to remove “imprints” from women’s vaginas left by previous sexual partners.
On his website sold $222 medallions dubbed a “Spirit Optimizer” which he claimed helped him overcome Covid.
“He’s an imposter, a charlatan and a quack,” columnist and humourist Dagfinn Nordbo wrote last year.
While Verrett has acknowledged his beliefs may be unsettling for some, he claims he is a victim of racism.
Fourth in the line of succession, Martha Louise, a divorced mother of three daughters, is herself no stranger to controversy.
A fan of alternative therapies, she claims to be able to speak with angels, a gift she has shared — and profited from — in books and courses.
In November 2022, she relinquished her royal duties in order to concentrate on her alternative medicine business with Verrett.
She kept her title, but agreed not to use it in her commercial endeavours.
She was previously married to Ari Behn, a flamboyant writer who committed suicide in 2019, three years after their divorce.