Norwegian Princess Engaged to Shaman Gives Up Royal Duties

Her affinity for the supernatural has raised eyebrows in Norway for more than a decade. According to a 2012 poll, while 15 percent of the Norwegian population believed that Princess Martha Louise communicated with angels and dead people, 47 percent thought that her practices had a negative effect on the royal family.

Her least popular ability, according to polls, was making contact with the dead, which she claimed in media interviews around 2010 that she could do. One of Norway’s most famous clairvoyants at the time, “the Snasa man,” told the Norwegian newspaper VG that it was not possible to talk to the dead, and the bishop of the Bjorgvin diocese, in Western Norway, at the time called some of her medium activities “highly objectionable.” Another bishop said that there was a line between talking to the angels and talking to the dead, and warned that the princess should not cross it.

But with a fascination with ghosts and spirits surging in the country, she has had some supporters among healers and life coaches. Even her mother, the queen, publicly defended her abilities, comparing her to witches who were burned at the stake because they thought the earth was round. But the criticism that followed Martha Louise’s engagement to Mr. Verrett was apparently too much for the couple and the royal family.

The couple met in Los Angeles in 2018, where Mr. Verrett was living, Martha Louise’s manager, Carina Scheele, said in a text message. In America, the shaman had a conspicuous following and celebrity clients and friends, including Gwyneth Paltrow, that he called “my family.” In 2019, the princess invited Mr. Verrett to Norway to join her in a tour called “The Princess and the Shaman.”

But in Norway, the shaman was condemned for spreading unscientific beliefs, accusations that the couple largely rejected as a form of racism against Mr. Verrett, who is Black. An Instagram post from before the engagement, in which Mr. Verrett defined himself as a “hybrid species of reptilian and Andromeda” who came to “shake up the system,” was deleted, but the leading Norwegian newspaper published screenshots of it.

Mr. Verrett has said he believes in conventional medicine because he was saved by it. But he also preaches the benefits of alternative medicine. In his 2019 book, “Spirit Hacking,” Mr. Verrett wrote that he went around hospitals and asked cancer patients, including children, “Why do you want this cancer,” and cited relationship problems as potential causes. He added that doctors might prescribe chemotherapy because they get a “huge check” from drug manufacturers.