On Tuesday, Norway’s Princess Martha formally stepped down or stepped away from her royal life. She will no longer do royal duties, nor will she have royal patronages. This has been more of a gradual thing, especially when it comes to Martha’s commercial interests. The family has tried to limit her use of her royal styling and title on her side-businesses and side-projects, most of which involve holistic medicine, angels, shamans. The catch is that Martha was only made to step down from her royal role until after she got engaged to Shaman Durek Verrett, a Black American man. Verrett has been very direct about how he has felt unwelcome in Norway and unwelcome in the Norwegian royal world. I was unsure about how all of this would play out, but I had to give the House of Glücksburg some credit – they made a big show of making it seem like everyone was on the same page. I thought Martha and Shaman Durek would be the ones to spill the tea, but no – Queen Sonja is the one saying some shady sh-t.
Queen Sonja of Norway is speaking out on a big change for her daughter. The 85-year-old Queen and her husband, King Harald, addressed the press after their daughter Princess Märtha Louise announced this week that she would be exiting her royal role. In a press conference on Tuesday, Queen Sonja said that Americans fail to grasp the gravity of monarchy’s significance ahead of her 51-year-old daughter marrying her American fiancé, Shaman Durek — before adding that he is a “great guy.”
“Americans have no idea what a kingdom is. So it’s no wonder he doesn’t realize,” Sonja said, according to Hello! Magazine. “Americans don’t understand the bearing of this here. They don’t. He thought he could do whatever he wanted without compromising us at all,” she continued, before adding that Princess Märtha Louise’s step back from royal life fits everyone’s best interests.
“Even if we disagree on things, we are happy with each other,” Queen Sonja said. “I have the feeling that the family is now very close to each other in a new, nice way,” she continued, adding that Durek, a Los Angeles-based spiritual guide and healer, is a “great guy” and “very fun to be with.”
In similar sentiments, King Harald, 85, said he was “sorry that the princess will no longer represent the royal house” and that “we agree to disagree,” the Associated Press reported.
“We have looked at this process from all sides,” Queen Sonja stressed. “This has been a unanimous decision.”
On one hand, this is much more conciliatory from “the horse’s mouth” than the Windsors would ever allow. Like, King Charles isn’t going on the record in a press conference about “we agree to disagree with the Sussexes, but we still love them and they’re still family.” Charles would be wise to do something like that, btw.
As for what Queen Sonja says about how “Americans have no idea what a kingdom is” – I mean… we have some notion, I think the average American has a Disney-level understanding of monarchy. Once we learn about what is actually happening within monarchies, we don’t really get it. I write about royalty all the time and there are moments when my American-ness jumps out and I really don’t get it either – why would anyone choose to live in these f–ked up families? Why are these royals refusing to modernize? Why are they so incapable of breaking these endless cycles of dysfunction and family trauma? Why not give back all of your stolen loot? Do you know how dumb it is to throw out your most charismatic royal stars just because you’re jealous??
Photos courtesy of Martha’s IG and Marius Gulliksrud / Stella Pictures / Avalon.