With many questions raised about royals using their background and privilege to champion causes that might be outside their remit, the Princess of Norway, Märtha Louise of Norway, member of the Norwegian royal family, has announced she is eschewing her royal title for her work and apparent influencing duties.
Earlier this year, the princess was criticised for exploiting her status for business purposes when she and boyfriend Shaman Durek Verrett hosted a speaking tour in Norway called “The Princess and the Shaman”, promising to take attendees “on a self-discovery into wisdoms to reveal to you your divine self-activated”.
Now, the royal has now made an announcement via Instagram that she is giving up her public “princess” title, unless officially representing the Norwegian royal family, or in a private setting, according to various reports.
“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. “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.
“From now on I will not use my princess title in a commercial context. That is, in all commercial contexts, I only use Märtha Louise.” She has since posted about an upcoming spirituality webinar she will host.
Indeed, to have a royal title comes with weighted responsibility and some do welcome the option to forgo one, with a hope of a more normal life experience – even while being born into royalty themselves. Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, told the press a few years ago how thankful she was for her title-less existence, saying: “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.”
Perhaps this is also why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were content that their son Archie would go without the same – he surely could have had one if both parents had wanted it.
More and more royals are dipping into social media, but generally, whether or not a royal does, is hugely dependant on rank. Both Princes of Wales nor Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle can use social media, for example, and should a royal do so, it cannot be outside their royal duties – not if they have a title.
This news is a step towards a more modern ‘woke’ monarchy and a dip in strict royal protocol, but how likely it is to be emulated by other royal families is anyone’s guess.
Main photograph: @vaninaswchindt