US shaman Durek Verrett will wed Norway's Princess Märtha Louise

The ‘shaman’ marrying into the Norwegian royal family: Durek Verrett, who once claimed children get cancer because they are unhappy, wooed Princess Martha Louise – but a poll suggests the public may not be warming to him

  • Princess Martha-Louise of Norway, 51, is engaged to Shaman Durek Verrett, 47
  • Couple started dating in 2019 and after meeting through a mutual friend
  • American Durek Verrett describes himself as a ‘shaman, bisexual, black man’
  • Couple has King’s blessing, but a poll suggests the public hasn’t warmed to him

Despite enjoying a good relationship with his in-laws, a poll suggests that Durek Verrett, the US shaman engaged to Norway’s Princess Märtha Louise has not yet captured the heart of the public, according to the Times.

Durek, 47, who proposed to the princess in June, after the  pair are believed to have met in 2018, is a Los Angeles-based ‘spiritual guide and gifted healer’ whose celebrity following includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Nina Dobrev and James Van Der Beek.

He is regularly featured on Hollywood shows and on his website, where he sells meditation tracks, and also has a collection on books for sale. 

Born in Sacramento in November 1974, he says first became ‘aware’ of his shamanic abilities when he was five but that he didn’t start training until age 11.

His father, David, was an engineer of African-Haitian descent; his mother, Veruschka, Indian-Norwegian. His aunt Shirley was a noted opera singer, an African-American mezzo-soprano. He calls on members of his family who have died – his father, his aunt and his grandmother – to help him during healing sessions. 

Durek Verrett (pictured while holding a lecture in Stavanger, Norway) shares his interest in spirituality with the Norwegian princess

Loved up: the couple (pictured here in Oslo at a royal party in June) have been given the king’s blessing

Durek’s passion for spirituality is something he shares with the Norwegian royal, who is fourth in line to the throne, and has garnered her own share of attention as a self-proclaimed clairvoyant who says she can talk to angels.

Their shared interest in all things spiritual suggests the couple are well-suited, and indeed, and he has previously said of the royals ‘over years we’ve built such a lovely relationship. I love them’.

Indeed her father King Harald, 85, has given the couple his blessing, although not without noting there is somewhat of a ‘culture clash’ between them.

According to the Times, a recent poll revealed that 17 per cent of the public now views the Norwegian monarchy more negatively than they did a year ago, with ‘Martha Louise’s relationship with Verrett, 47, cited by many as the reason’.   

Speaking recently, Crown Prince Haakon, Martha’s brother, noted that some of the American’s more controversial opinions have made an impact.

The royal made the comments amid a conversation around whether his sister should lose her princess title following neighbouring monarch Queen Margrethe II of Denmark stripping the children of her second son, Prince Joachim, of theirs. 

‘We have of course noticed that some of what has been said and done has caused quite a bit of discussion. Some of it has also been controversial,’ Haakon said.

The shaman is known as a ‘healer and spiritualist’ and has celebrity followers such as Gwyneth Paltrow

Durek revealed he ‘asked King Harald’ of Norway for Princess Märtha Louise’s hand in marriage before proposing to her

These include Durek saying that children get cancer because they are unhappy, a comment which prompted his book to be dropped by his publisher in Norway when the claims were made public.  

Among his other claims, Durek says he once came back from the dead, recovering from a month-long coma, by letting his soul ‘burn’ and he has also spoken of having to undergo a kidney transplant from his sister as a child.

It is unclear why he needed the kidney or how he became wheelchair bound, as he has described. The illness which sent him into a coma is also undisclosed.

‘When I woke up from a month long coma, I was told that I would never walk again and that I didn’t have much more than a month to live. Seven different specialists told me there was no hope.

‘But I received visits from powerful beings who delivered me messages about how I had to set my mind in order to survive this,’ he said.   

Sources previously told that Durek and the royal are ‘madly in love’ and that the royal was one of his clients.

Princess Martha Louise of Norway has revealed that she has learnt more about how people of colour are treated since being in a relationship with Durek

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her fiancé Shaman Durkek Verrett with her three daughters on Instagram

‘Falling in love with a client was the last thing on Shaman Durek’s mind. But their attraction for each other was inevitable.   

‘They both believe they have known each other for many lifetimes, and that in this lifetime they are suppose to help heal the world together with their tribe, their followers.’

The American will be the royal’s second husband. Her first husband Ari Behn, from who she split several years’ ago, died by suicide on Christmas Day 2019. He was 47.   

In a candid interview with Vanity Fair last year, Martha Louise revealed her turmoil following his death, and revealed her upset that she and her boyfriend Shaman Durek Verrett were blamed. 

Princess Martha Louise and Ari Behn married in 2002 and have three children together Maud Angelica, 19, Leah Isadora, 17, and Emma Tallulah, 13. 

Discussing the traumatic day, Martha Louise revealed they returned home from the Christmas morning church service to the news. 

The relationship has prompted some discussion in the family, due to some of the controversial opinions Durek has shared (Princess Martha Louise (far left) with (l-r) her parents King Harald V and Queen Sonja, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway and Princess Astrid of Norway on the British royals’ visit to Norway in 2018)

Prince Haakon of Norway, who is heir-to-the-throne, 49, told local press that he feels ‘responsible’ for the future of the Norwegian monarchy, Norwegian media NRK reported

‘They were saying that it was my fault and Durek’s fault—that if it hadn’t been for Durek, this wouldn’t have happened. I was so lucky to have the support of Durek and my family and my friends all around us, but it’s a void. 

‘Suddenly I was a single parent, which is a very different horse, and of course the grief, the anger, the self-pity, the sadness over never seeing him again…it’s devastating.’     

The couple have also opened up about how their interracial relationship has sparked death threats, with the princess admitting she has been ‘really shocked’ to see how ‘black people and people of colour get treated’.

Meanwhile, Durek raised the possibility that some people in Norway ‘don’t want to see a black man in the royal family’.

Trond Noren Isaksen, a Norwegian historian and leading royal expert, agreed that Durek is the recipient of racist abuse, but suggested that some people are more concerned with his ‘business practices’.

He told the Times: ‘The huge majority in Norway thinks [his business practices are] hogwash and quackery. And you can’t really reconcile that with the role of the royal family who are supposed to be an uncontroversial unifying force for the nation.’ 

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