Princess Märtha Louise of Norway’s mother is speaking out after her daughter gave up her royal duties.
On Tuesday, the 51-year-old announced she will no longer represent the royal house following “many questions relating to me and my fiancé’s role.” The mother of three, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, became engaged in June to Durek Verrett, an American who describes himself as a shaman and a healer.
Queen Sonja and her husband, King Harald, addressed the press following their daughter’s announcement. The 85-year-old said Americans fail to grasp the importance of the monarchy’s significance.
“Americans have no idea what a kingdom is,” the queen said, according to Hello! magazine. “So, it’s no wonder [Durek] doesn’t realize.
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“Americans don’t understand the bearing of this here,” she added. “They don’t. He thought he could do whatever he wanted without compromising us at all.”
The queen said Durek, 47, is “a great guy” and that her daughter’s decision to step back from royal duties fits everyone’s best interests.
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“Even if we disagree on things, we are happy with each other,” said Sonja. “I have the feeling that the family is now very close to each other in a new, nice way.”
The king said he was “sorry that the princess will no longer represent the royal house” and that “we agree to disagree.”
“We have looked at this process from all sides,” the queen said. “This has been a unanimous decision.”
In a statement issued by the palace, Märtha Louise said her decision was made in coordination with her parents “to create peace around the household.”
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“I have decided that at the present time I will no longer carry out official duties for the household,” she said.
While the princess will retain her title, the palace said she informed the organizations where she still served as patron that she was relinquishing the role.
Harald, 85, said Verrett “probably thought he could do anything without it affecting us.”
The palace statement revealed that the couple would “clarify the distinction between their own activities and the royal household.” They will also not use the title of “princess” or refer to other royals in social media or commercial activity. Verrett will not have a title or represent Norway’s royal house when he and Märtha Louise marry.
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The pair, who have been together since May 2019, will attend family-related occasions and traditional royal events.
Märtha Louise has three daughters from her first marriage to author Ari Behn. They were married from 2002 until 2017. Behn, who accused Kevin Spacey of groping him, took his life on Christmas Day 2019. He was 47.
Verrett previously told People magazine he received pal Gwyneth Paltrow’s opinion on an engagement ring before proposing in June.
According to Norwegian reports, Märtha Louise plans to relocate to California with her children to be by Verrett’s side. Verrett is based in Los Angeles, where he has a celebrity clientele. The palace did not say whether the change for Märtha Louise would have any effect on her children.
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The princess has previously written books in which she claimed to have contact with angels. This decision would allow her to freely pursue other interests without the restrictions of being affiliated with the crown.
Märtha Louise took to Instagram to confirm the news, insisting that the transition process has been smooth. She also spoke of her goals for the future.
“I am concerned with health and research and myself have an education in the field of health as a physiotherapist and respect school medicine,” she said. “I see alternative medicine as an important supplement to school medicine.”
Her younger brother, Crown Prince Haakon, 49, is heir to the throne.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.