Princess runs into trouble with angels

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Norway’s Princess Martha Louise and her business partner Elisabeth Samnøy have confirmed that they “postponed” the last year of their three-year program for students at their so-called “angel school” in Oslo. Local magazine

Se og Hør blamed the postponement on conflicts among their students.Samnøy and the daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja launched their unusual venture in 2007 after founding Astarte Education, which aims to help people “get in touch” with their own guardian angels. The program calls for two days of classes each week and several weekend gatherings every year for three years.

The first school year focuses on so-called “readings,” the second on healing and the third on touching. Fees amount to NOK 25,000 (about USD 4,500) per year.

The school’s first batch of students was supposed to have started their third year last fall, until Samnøy and Princess Martha Louise halted the courses. Se og Hør reported that the magazine received an e-mail from Samnøy in which she wrote that “we wanted to postpone this until further notice.” She claimed the postponement had “nothing to do with a lack of students or interest,” but she declined to offer another reason.

The magazine reported that former students in the program suggested the postponement came after “internal unrest and conflicts” among the participants. Some of the conflicts reportedly stem from varying views on the power and meaning of angels, according to one student.

Students cited “several emotional outbursts” among students, and disagreements between students and teachers. Both the princess and Samnøy conduct courses.

Some former students also said there had been criticism that the princess and Samnøy were spending too much time on their book that was published and heavily promoted last fall, Møt din skytengel (Meet your guardian angel).

One former student broke a vow not to talk about what goes on in the school and told the magazine last month that students are encouraged to find strength within themselves and that they were urged to have little social contact among themselves. “That doesn’t lead to a very good atmosphere,” he said.

Another student reported that of 24 students who began the program, only 14 remain. Samnøy reportedly wrote in her mail that it was “natural” that some students drop out along the way, claimed that “well over half” have continued and claimed that “we think interest is quite good.” None of the students is obliged to complete the three-year program, which does not qualify for support from Norwegian educational authorities.