Yesterday, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway announced that she would no longer be carrying out official duties on behalf of the Royal House. Together with her fiancé Durek Verrett, Märtha Louise released a video statement on Instagram. This was later followed by a press conference given by Märtha Louise’s parents, the King and Queen of Norway, in Oslo. 

Märtha Louise began: “Every time a person in the Royal Family gets engaged, it creates media storms, so also this time. From the last months’ discussions in the media, my fiancé Durek Verrett and I have, together with the King and Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family, landed on some adjustments. I will step down from my official duties as patron for various organisations. My heart goes out to the organisations and the wonderful people I have met through representing them for several decades, and the important work they do. There will be someone else from the Royal Family continuing my patronages. I will continue the separation between my Princess title and my role as a businesswoman, where I only use Märtha Louise on social media, media productions and such, and Durek is following suite. First of all, I would like to emphasize that there has been no discord within the Royal Family during this process. We have embraced each other’s opinions and views in an amicable fashion, with respect and love for one another. I would also like to clarify the fact, that when in the future we do get married, like my uncles Erling Lorentzen and Johan Ferner and my late husband Ari Behn, Durek will not receive a title. True to tradition, he will also not represent the Royal House, but will be present at family occasions and some occasional sport events.

Durek Verrett continued: “I have always wanted to support my fiancée Märtha Louise, and I want her to be happy. If her life has become difficult because of some of the things that I have done, then that was never my intention. The same goes for her parents, the King and Queen. I want them to be successful in the important roles that they have. I have, through the conversations with the family, learned a lot. I have gained a deeper understanding of the work of the Royal Family in Norway, and I respect their constitutional role. I know that some of the things I have said and done have been seen as controversial in Norway. Some have even argued that this has become a problem for the monarchy. I want to make it clear, that this was never my intention. I wish Märtha’s family well, and I want to do my part to support them in their roles. At the same time, it is important for me to maintain my own integrity and to be true to myself. I like everyone else have a right to autonomy, to determine what I believe in, and to speak up about it. I hope what Märtha and I and the Royal Family have agreed on will create the space necessary for this balance to work and to be more robust. I also want to clarify that I am for the school of medicine, and always have been, because I have seen several occasions in my life where I have been saved by the school of medicine, and I have great respect for the institution and for the people working in the healthcare system. I honor and respect them for what they do. However, I do believe that we should always use all available resources for health on our planet. Not instead of, but in addition to the healthcare system.

Märtha Louise finished by saying: “I have a background from the healthcare system as a physiotherapist, and know the importance of scientifically proven healthcare. In addition to that, I think alternative medicine can be an important supplement to the school of medicine for many people. Acupuncture, yoga, meditations, crystals, and nature medicine can be a supplement in addition to the health system for better mental and physical health. And, it is, in the bridging of the two, like having acupuncture in maternity wards and hospitals, as many parts of the country have as an asset, or using horses as part of psychiatric treatment, like at Gaustad Hospital here in Oslo, that I want to continue like I have for the last twenty years. I hope these steps will lead to a calmer and more peaceful environment regarding my fiancé Durek Verrett and myself.

Later in the day, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway held a press conference to address their daughter’s decision. The king opened by noting: “We have followed the discussion that has taken place in the press and among the people regarding Princess Märtha Louise’s activities and mixing of tasks. We have now arrived at a solution which we hope and believe will give greater distance between the princess’s activities and those of the royal house. We believe this will create a greater distance and are happy about it. We have arrived at an agreed proposal that we are all satisfied with.

The king said that his daughter withdrawing from royal duties was a loss to the Royal Family: “She is very good at it. And I know that those who have had close contact with her and for whom she has been a protector, they are very fond of her. So there are some who will be happy about this [decision], and some who will be disappointed.

Queen Sonja further elaborated: “She has also enjoyed it very much herself. I think she enjoyed these tasks. So it is a shame that you have to give it up, and I think she’s sorry for that too.

When asked if the princess stepping away from royal duties was a loss for her, the king and queen responded: “Yes, and for us.

Queen Sonja spoke about Durek Verrett, the fiancé of Princess Märtha Louise: “Even if we disagree on certain things, we are happy with each other. And that is the most important thing. So I have the feeling that the family is now very close to each other in a new, nice way. We have gained a great understanding of each other. It is after all two cultures meeting. I have the feeling that Durek now understands more of what the monarchy and the royal house stand for in a country. At least, he says he has learned a lot. He is very nice and fun to be with.” King Harald added: “It is nice to see that Princess Märtha Louise and Durek Verrett are doing well together. You can see that, and during this time we have had the opportunity to get to know him better. He is a great guy and very fun to be with. He has a lot of humour, 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 agree that we disagree. So we don’t agree on everything. But we can live with our differences.

King Harald humourously and kindly noted that it should not be surprising that Mr Verrett, as an US citizen, did not fully understand the importance of a constitutional monarchy and how it functions, as the system is foreign to Americans. The king stated: “The Americans do not understand the significance of this [the monarchy] here. They don’t. Americans have no idea what a monarchy is. So it’s no wonder he doesn’t understand.

The royal couple briefly addressed the issues surrounding Mr Verrett’s and how he had come to understand the effect this would have on the Norwegian monarchy and its role if Princess Märtha Louise continued in her royal duties while also engaging in commercial activities alongside Mr Verrett. “He thought he could do what he wanted without it affecting us at all,” said King Harald. Queen Sonja went on: “But he has understood that now, that we are together on this. That he must also take into account what we stand for.

King Harald and Queen Sonja were asked why Märtha Louise was allowed to keep the title of princess. The king replied: “She is our daughter, and she will continue to be. So she is Princess Märtha Louise.

The Norwegian text of the King and Queen of Norway’s comments can be found at this link:

Kong Harald om Durek Verrett: – Han trodde han kunne gjøre hva han ville

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