Norwegian bishops were critical and distressed on Sunday after Norway’s controversial princess, Martha Louise, went on stage in Oslo with a self-professed British medium who claims she can communicate with the dead. The bishops don’t think a member of the Norwegian royal family should have anything to do with someone who profits from such claims, which defy the tenets of the Norwegian church.
“I think she (Princess Martha Louise) needs to make a choice if she wants to continue to represent the royal family,” Jan Otto Myrseth, the acting bishop of Bergen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “Then she should not cooperate with a player like (medium) Lisa Williams.”
Myrseth was not the only bishop reacting critically to the princess’ decision to invite Williams to take part in a seminar organized by the so-called “angel school” that Princess Martha Louise operates with her partner Elisabeth Nordeng. Martha Louise and Nordeng have long claimed that they can help people “get in touch with their own angels” and on Sunday, at the seminar in Oslo, Williams promised to help people in the audience make contact with dead loved ones.
NRK reported that it had been in contact with several bishops of the Norwegian church, and all of them disapproved of Williams’ work. Myrseth went the farthest in publicly criticizing Princess Martha Louise, whose father, King Harald, has served as head of the state-supported Norwegian Lutheran church.
Atle Dyregrov, a specialist in crisis psychology, also was skeptical about the princess’ involvement with a medium like Williams. He said that many of his patients, grieving over the loss of a loved one, have been deeply disappointed when they don’t attain the contact with the dead that a medium has promised.
“I have experienced that several times in my practice,” Dyregrov told NRK. “At the same time, I’ve also met some who feel they’ve been helped by this sort of thing.” He feels the criticism expressed by the church’s top clerics, though, is timely and justified. “I would give (the princess) the same advice as the church, that this is something to be avoided.”
Martha Louise herself claimed from the stage that she was also skeptical towards Williams’ claims, and that she invited Williams to the seminar out of curiosity. She also told NRK that “everything I do is controversial, and I respect those who have a different view than I do. This is an experiment that can go wrong, but we just had to try it. I remain secure that this was right for me.”
One thing was clear: The performance generated lots of free publicity both for Williams and for Princess Martha Louise and her commercial business ventures, just weeks after she returned to Norway following a period of living in London with her husband and three daughters.