Norwegian Paper Calls for Princess to Step Down Over Communication With Angels

A leading Norwegian newspaper called on Princess Martha Louise to renounce her royal title Monday after she said she communicates with angels.

The 35-year-old princess, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, has come under intense media scrutiny for her involvement in an alternative school that aims to teach people how to get in touch with angels.

Some observers have questioned whether her work for the private institute, dubbed "the angel school" in Norwegian media, can be combined with her duties as a member of the royal family.

"As princess and theoretical heir to the throne Martha Louise must ... operate within a certain framework," the Bergens Tidene daily said in its editorial Monday.

"If she feels that this would clip her wings, so to speak, ... the solution is clear and actually not dramatic: Drop the princess title and her place in the line of succession, (and) choose to live life in her own way."

Martha Louise is the daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, and the older sister of Crown Prince Haakon. She was married in 2002 to Ari Behn, a Norwegian writer.

Martha Louise wrote on the Web site of the Astarte Education School that she had learned how to communicate with horses and talk to angels. The institute offers courses it says can help people get in touch with "the angels and the divine Universe."

Many commentators said a member of the royal family should not be involved in spiritual healing, and some even questioned her mental health.

In an interview Saturday on national broadcaster NRK, Martha Louise tried to explain her view on angels, saying they were not physical beings.

"Some feel them, others see them. Everyone experiences them from their own standpoint. For me, they are beings of light, like a feeling of a powerful presence, a strong sense of love," she said.

She compared the media frenzy to a witch hunt.

"I am very happy that I don't live a few hundred years ago, because then I would have been burned at the stake a long time ago," she said.

The palace said last month that Martha Louise had taken a leave of absence due to illness, but didn't reveal any details. A palace spokesman did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The princess' supporters accuse the media of exaggerating her comments about angels and say her involvement in the school does not interfere with her royal duties.

"I cannot see how that has anything to do with this," said Carl I. Hagen, vice president of parliament. "It is only because she is a princess that the media have chased her."