Norway's Princess Martha Louise announces she will step down from her royal duties, while retaining her title, to focus on alternative medicine and her fiance Durek Verrett, who is a self-proclaimed shaman. Photo courtesy of Royal House of Norway
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Norway's Princess Martha Louise is stepping down from her royal duties to focus on her alternative medicine business and her American fiancé, who calls himself a spiritual healer and believes "cancer is a choice."
The Norwegian princess, 51, announced Tuesday that she would officially step down from all royal engagements once she and her fiancé, Durek Verrett, are married. Martha Louise said she made her decision after consulting with her father, King Harald V, according to a video she posted in Norwegian to her Instagram account.
"I have decided that at this time, I will not continue my official duties as protective for various organizations," Martha Louise said. "There will be another in the family to take over my role. I wish the organizations good luck for the important work they are doing," she said.
While the princess is "relinquishing her patronage role," and would no longer participate in royal duties, King Harald V said he decided she should keep her title.
"She has performed her duties with warmth, care and deep commitment," the palace said in a statement. King Harald also described Verrett as "a great guy and very funny to be with."
"He has a lot of humor, and we laugh a lot, even in this difficult time. I think both we and he have gained a greater understanding of what this is about, and we've agreed to disagree," King Harald told Norwegian reporters.
Martha Louise discussed the controversy over her relationship with Verrett in Norway when they started dating three years ago. While Verrett is a self-proclaimed shaman, he will also become the first Black man to marry into a European royal family.
"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," she told Vanity Fair in 2020. "To be with a shaman, that's very, extremely, terribly out of the box. It's crazy."
Verrett describes himself as a "6th Generation Shaman," who has claimed to be risen from the dead. Verrett, who said he has influenced actress Gwyneth Paltrow, also claims to have predicted the 9/11 attacks two years earlier in 1999.
Princess Martha Louise became engaged to Verrett in June and announced their relationship in a 2019 Instagram post.
"To those of you who feel the need to criticize: Hold your horses. It is not up to you to choose for me or to judge me," she said. "Shaman Durek is merely a man I love spending my time with and who fulfills me."