Friday, July 27, 2007

The Romance Princess

We learn at school that the feudal lords received their right to rule from higher powers. They were the chosen ones, the ones with extraordinary abilities. Well, it seems like this belief is alive and blooming in the Norwegian royal house. Princess Martha Louise has "come out" as a clairvoyant, healer and one who can see angels. She is starting a school, Astarte Education, where she teaches healing and whatnot.

Martha Louise is a well-loved figure in Norway, and people are quite tolerant of her many controversial (for a royal princess) impulses. Well, so they laugh a bit at her posturing husband and their wannabe bohemian lifestyle, but it's a rather indulgent laugh.

This time she may however have crossed some lines which are not as easily accepted. She is using her authorisation as a physiotherapist in combination with spiritual healing, something which crosses Norwegian legislation - she is flirting with "kvakksalverloven", which means she can risk becoming, legally, a quack. She has also always been quite well loved by the church, but in the Norwegian church there are no middlemen between man and God - the angels are not for conversation, if you have to talk to God, you go straight to him.

For a scholar with an interest in popular culture, this is however amazingly fascinating. Martha Louise is going - not eactly mainstream, but straight into the women's magazines. Her life is becoming a modern fairytale, or, more precisely, a romance novel. Consider this synopsis:

"Young princess who is mainly interested in horses and angry with the restrictions of her royal life, strives to overcome these restrictions and find meaning beyond her birth. She has several undesirable romances, but the family always manages to cover it up somehow and she remains in the cluthces of her position. Finally however the travelling, mediocre minstrel (journalist, writer, designer) shows up and sweeps her off her feet, convinces the parents that he truly loves the princess, and charms the nation with his devotion. His great gifts for public embarassments finally frees the princess from her burden of royal duties, as she renounces her title to be with him. With motherhood and no more public duty, tedium sets in, she is no longer in the public eye and also, there's the money issue. With the title, she also renounced the public support a royal princess is due. Used to a lifestyle no common physiotherapist can support, the princess needs a miracle, and lo and behold, just as she was getting too bored, angels come to her! She can heal, she can see, she can commune with great powers! And so, by the miracle of her exceptional birthright, she is lifted out of the dreariness of being a married mother and into her true vocation: A magically gifted healer. Peace at last for our much-tried princess."

(Sorry about getting carried away with some sarcasm at the end there - there are reasons I don't write romance novels.)

I think I have read that story already - over and over and over again, in exactly the kind of magazines that are filled with pictures of royalty, the magazines that have followed Martha Louise since her birth. That reader segment comprises her most loyal supporters, and accidentally also the most likely customer or "students" to her school. Now, if I were mean, I might suggest that this is an incredibly well-conceived scam, where the princess ruthlessly abuses her birth, her publicity and the dreams of the many who have watched, loved and celebrated her all her life, to make money off the suffering and unhappiness of those with uncurable ailments and unfullfillable dreams. I am not a mean woman though, so I suggest rather that Princess Martha Louise has come to believe in the story about herself. May the story lead to a happy ever after, for the sake of the many who share that belief.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Har du vurdert, sånn ved siden av undervisning og lærebokskriving, å forfatte en heidundrende kioskserie?

Da hadde kanskje midlene til å dra på de ulike konferansene kommet inn? =)