Princess Märtha was born on 22 September 1971. Her parents are King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.
The Princess was born in 1971 while her parents were still Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway. Though she was the first-born child, Märtha is not in line to succeed the throne because, at the time of her birth, women were barred from inheriting the throne. In 1990, Norway introduced absolute primogeniture – meaning the eldest child regardless of sex is first in the line of succession. This change only applied to those born after 1990, but Märtha was included in the line of succession behind her younger brother.
Märtha was the first child born to Harald and Sonja and was followed in 1973 by her brother Haakon Magnus who is the current Crown Prince and he will one day become King. At the time of her birth, however, Märtha was in the line of succession for sixteen other countries due to being the great-great-granddaughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.
Märtha and Haakon were born after their parents had already been together for around a decade before they married, in a true tale of devotion, Harald refused to marry if he was not allowed to marry Sonja who was a commoner or private citizen. Harald’s father Olav V had refused the match for a decade but when it was clear that the family line would die out, he relented, and Harald and Sonja were married in 1968.
Märtha and her brother Haakon were raised relatively out of the public eye and had quite normal childhoods considering their places in the royal family. Märtha had turned twenty by the time her father became King and was focusing on her own education in this period. The Princess studied in Oslo as well as in Maastricht in The Netherlands and qualified as a physiotherapist. Rather than following this career path, however, Märtha has had an eclectic career so far; in storytelling, folk stories, in traditional Norwegian choirs and in spiritual practices. The Princess has also written children’s books and appeared on choir CDs.
In 2002, Princess Märtha poured more energy into her career and took a step back from royal duties, due to this her father decided that her styling of Royal Highness should be removed. Märtha still carries on royal duties, however, and is often known as Highness when overseas.
Also in 2002, Märtha was married, and like her father, before her, she married a ‘private citizen’, further modernising the Norwegian royal family. Märtha married the author and visual-artist Ari Behn on 24 May 2002. The couple went on to have three daughters in the following years; Maud, Leah and Emma. The family moved around a lot and lived in London, New York and Lommedalen valley near Oslo.
In 2016, the Royal Court announced that Märtha and Ari were due to divorce and this was finalised in 2017, though the pair remained on good terms and planned to share the custody of their three daughters. Märtha threw herself more into her career after the split and focused more on holistic therapies and her alternative therapy centre known as Astarte Education or Angel school.
Over the years, Märtha has been involved in controversy over Angel school as many people claimed she was using her royal title to promote the centre and to bolster her image as a clairvoyant. Märtha has continuously claimed to be able to communicate with animals and angels. This all went too far for the public in 2014 when Märtha invited psychic and medium Lisa Williams to give a seminar at Angel school (also known as Soulspring). Williams talked about communicating with the dead in her talk which is highly frowned upon in Norway’s Lutheran faith, Märtha had to respond to this in the press by stating that Angel school did not carry out these practices.
On Christmas Day 2019, the Princess and her family were struck by grief as Ari Behn died by suicide following a long period of depression. The whole royal family attended his funeral along with the couple’s children who left floral tributes and drawings for their father. Following the death of her former husband, Princess Märtha is currently living in California in the United States, concentrating on raising her daughters and on her spiritual teachings. Märtha has recently stopped using the title Princess when promoting her business ventures after receiving criticism over this.
The Princess has recently found happiness with her new boyfriend Durek Verrett, who shares Märtha’s interests in all things spiritual. Durek is known as Shaman Durek and is a 6th generation shaman, and he is a well-known healer and spiritual guide. Shaman Durek has a high-profile celebrity client base including Gwyneth Paltrow who has become friends with Princess Märtha recently.
Märtha seems besotted with her new lover and has shared many images of them together on her Instagram account, calling Durek her ‘twin flame’. Of course, Märtha expected ridicule and criticism from the press over her new relationship and when people started to call Shaman Durek a fraud and a con artist she responded by telling people to ‘hold your horses’ and went on to state that she did not choose her man to satisfy anyone else and that it is not up to anyone else to judge her!