Wednesday 18 September 2019

What's in a name: why Norway's Princess Märtha Louise is dropping her title

Norwegian princess Martha Louise and her boyfriend US shaman Durek Verrett arrive on May 16, 2019 to take part in the morning show
Norwegian princess Martha Louise and her boyfriend US shaman Durek Verrett arrive on May 16, 2019 to take part in the morning show "God Morgen Norge" at the TV2 studio in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Lise vÖserud / NTB Scanpix / AFP)
Norway's Princess Martha Louise with boyfriend Shaman Durek. Picture: Instagram
Norway's Princess Martha Louise with boyfriend Shaman Durek. Picture: Instagram
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and princess Märtha Louise of Norway arrive for a gala dinner at the Operahouse in Oslo on May 10, 2017 in celebration of the 80th bithdays of King Harald of Norway and Queen Sonja of Norway. / AFP PHOTO / NTB scanpix
Princess Martha Louise of Norway attends the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf XIV and Queen Silvia at The Royal Palace on June 8, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Norwegian princess Martha Louise and her boyfriend US shaman Durek Verrett arrive on May 16, 2019 to take part in the morning show "God Morgen Norge" at the TV2 studio in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Lise vÖserud / NTB Scanpix / AFP)
Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon (Up 2nd L) celebrates his 45th birthday with his family, while he poses beside Princess Martha Louise (Up L), Crown Princess Mette-Marit (Up C), Princess Ingrid Alexandra (2nd R), Maud Angelica Behn (R), (Bottom L-R) Prince Sverre Magnus, Queen Sonja and King Harald V, on July 2018 in Makeroy (Magero) near Tjome in Norway. (Photo by Lise AASERUD / various sources / AFP)
Princess Martha Louise of Norway and Ari Mikael Behn attend the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf XIV and Queen Silvia at The Royal Palace on June 8, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
His and Her Royal Wokeness: Do Harry and Meghan practice what they preach on climate change? Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Meghan with baby Archie (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway (R) and Princess Martha Louise of Norway attend an official dinner at the Norwegian Royal Palace on March 20, 2012 in Oslo, Norway. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are on a Diamond Jubilee tour of Scandinavia that takes in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Zara Tindall with her baby daughter Lena during the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (C) pose with (L-R) Princess Martha Louise of Norway, Harald V of Norway, Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway and Princess Astrid of Norway ahead of a dinner at the Royal Palace on day 3 of their visit to Sweden and Norway on February 1, 2018 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie at a charity polo day in Berkshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Norway’s Princess Märtha Louise has announced she will no longer be using her ‘princess’ title unless she is representing the Norwegian royal family or in a private setting.

Märtha Louise, who now lives in California, is fourth in line to the throne and as such is afforded more freedoms than the traditional heir-in-waiting. Like similar royals in her position, she has somewhat struggled to find her positioning in a professional role that allows her the flexibility for her royal commitments and while still living in Oslo, she pursued holistic therapies and claimed she could communicate with angels when she launched an alternative therapy centre called Astarte Education, for which she was heavily criticised.

Since moving to Los Angeles last year, she struck up a relationship with Shaman Durek (aka Derek Verrett) and the pair went on a controversial speaking tour encouraging entitled The Princess and the Shaman.

She says she took the criticism on board and after consulting with her family, decided it best to avoid any accusations she was attempting to monetise her royal title for personal gain.

Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon (Up 2nd L) celebrates his 45th birthday with his family, while he poses beside Princess Martha Louise (Up L), Crown Princess Mette-Marit (Up C), Princess Ingrid Alexandra (2nd R), Maud Angelica Behn (R), (Bottom L-R) Prince Sverre Magnus, Queen Sonja and King Harald V, on July 2018 in Makeroy (Magero) near Tjome in Norway. (Photo by Lise AASERUD / various sources / AFP)
Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon (Up 2nd L) celebrates his 45th birthday with his family, while he poses beside Princess Martha Louise (Up L), Crown Princess Mette-Marit (Up C), Princess Ingrid Alexandra (2nd R), Maud Angelica Behn (R), (Bottom L-R) Prince Sverre Magnus, Queen Sonja and King Harald V, on July 2018 in Makeroy (Magero) near Tjome in Norway. (Photo by Lise AASERUD / various sources / AFP)

“There have been many discussions about my use of title in a commercial context lately. The fact that I used Princess in the title of my tour, I have said before that I am very sorry, and I still stand by that,” she wrote on Instagram. “It was a mistake and I understand that it provokes when the princess title is used this way.

“The discussions are something I have taken seriously, and in collaboration with my family we have found that it is best that we make some changes.”

Royal titles can be a hot button topic, especially in the fickle world of inherited wealth. Britain’s Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle declined against giving their son Archie a formal title in a bid to give him the best shot at a normal childhood as possible.

His cousin Zara Tindall (née Phillips), whose parents Princess Anne and Mark Phillips declined to give her a title, often says how grateful she is to have grown up without the pressure associated with being a princess.

Although she is a high-ranking royal with fame and influence, she is far from a household name and has been allowed to pursue her personal passions and her children in turn enjoy privacy that the likes of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis likely won’t ever know.

“I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title, and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do,” she told The Times in 2015.

Prince Andrew, on the other hand, ensured his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice were both given titles at their births and those pesky princess tags have arguably been more cumbersome than if they were just themselves.

In 2011, their uncle Prince Charles, keen to tighten the royal purse strings, cut their security and is keen to only financially support full-time working royals, namely his children and some of his siblings, including Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

Zara Tindall with her baby daughter Lena during the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
Zara Tindall with her baby daughter Lena during the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire

Online Editors

Also in this section