In 2019, a romance blossomed between an eligible European royal and a Black commoner whom traditionalists considered unsuitable for a royal marriage. The lovebirds were not Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who had already been married for a year. They were Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her boyfriend, a Californian named Durek Verrett. Like Prince Harry, Princess Märtha Louise is a spare heir with a brother in training for the throne. Her status freed her to pursue a life of leisure, and to pursue Verrett, who, as Markle did, works in a déclassé profession. Verrett is known to all of Norway as “Shaman Durek.” He charges about $1,000 for a private round of shamanic guidance, and he has written a self-help book so fatuous that Gwyneth Paltrow has publicly declared that he might be onto something. He accuses children with cancer of bringing their disease upon themselves with “negative thoughts,” and he says that women who have too many sex partners can engage his services to remove men’s “imprints” from their vagina. He and the princess are sappily, happily in love.
The royal families of Europe used to marry each another. Harry and Märtha Louise are third cousins once removed; they are also fourth cousins once removed, and probably have other relationships characteristic of family trees that wind back in on themselves instead of branching out. Now that the royals have decided to go splashing in a larger gene pool, mortification of the sort experienced by the Norwegian royals over their shaman son-in-law—and by the British royals over Markle and Harry’s Oprah interview, which aired on Sunday—will become more routine.