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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Crown Prince: sister’s conflicts ‘difficult’

A new public opinion poll indicates “dramatic” opposition to the commercial pursuits of Princess Martha Louise and her new fiancé Durek Verrett. Her brother Crown Prince Haakon had to face reporters on Monday, and admit that it was “difficult” to balance his sister’s situation with the monarchy as an institution. 

Crown Prince Haakon and King Harald at the opening of Parliament earlier this month. They both have to settle the controversy stirred up by their sister and daughter, Princess Martha Louise. PHOTO: Stortinget/Peter Mydske

“On the one side, my sister has become engaged, and I’ve come to know Durek Verrett (her American fiancé who’s a self-acclaimed shaman) and think it’s nice to be with him, I’ve met him on many occasions,” Crown Prince Haakon told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) while in Trondheim on Monday to meet with 200 young leaders at a conference.

The crown prince said he also wants Verrett “to feel welcome in our family.”

Verrett has, however, sparked controversy over his claims that a medallion he’s been selling on his website helped cure him after he’d been infected with a Corona virus. Verrett has also been critical of conventional medicine and treatment, has been branded as a “charlatan” by some critics, and both he and Martha Louise have been accused of exploiting her royal title for commercial gain. She’s also been accused of that on earlier occasions, when she’s written books and when she ran her so-called “angel school” that claimed to help people get in touch with their own angels.

Princess Martha Louise reportedly agreed to stop using her title in connection with her business ventures or Verrett’s, but that hasn’t happened. Now a majority of Norwegians think her commercial ventures “weaken the royal family’s credibility:”fully 62.9 percent of those questioned in a new poll conducted by research firm InFact for newspaper Dagbladet. Only 20.8 percent didn’t think she was a liability for the monarchy.

An earlier poll, conducted by Norstat for NRK, was just as negative towards Martha Louise. It showed that more than half of those questioned think Martha Louise must stop representing the royal family, and only 13 percent were positive towards her official work on behalf of the royals.

Dagbladet reported that “crisis meetings” are being held at the palace, with Crown Prince Haakon and King Harald V left to deal with the trouble Martha Louise is causing once again. The princess herself has long claimed that she has a right to earn her own money in her own manner. She disagrees that she’s steadily putting the monarchy, which only exists at the will of the people, at risk.

King Harald (left) with his children (from right) Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon, and daughter-in-law Crown Princess Mette-Marit. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

While claiming he wants the best for his sister and Verrett, Crown Prince Haakon told NRK on Monday thar “at the same time I feel a strong responsibility for the institution (of the monarchy) and I, and we, have of course marked what’s being said and done, and that it’s creating discussion and become controversial. We have to talk about that and find a way out of it.”

Their father, King Harald, has already told reporters that the royal family is “in a process” of doing just that. He has said he “would speak with” Verrett. Crown Prince Haakon Magnus confirmed that “what we’re trying to do, now that we have this process, is to find a good way forward. At the same time there are lots of feelings and thoughts around the various aspects, so this will take some time.”

He said it was “natural” that debate had arisen: “That’s part of the living democracy that we are part of.”

Norway’s Epilepsy Federation recently opted against continuing to have Princess Martha Louise as a patron, because of statements made by her fiancé that ran counter to the federation’s values and ethics. Other organizations have also asked the princess to clarify her view on alternative medicine and treatments, and to clarify whether she supports Verrett’s claims as a healer.

NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

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