Princess draws more flak

Olso, Norway - Princess Märtha Louise's latest business venture, which she says can teach people how to communicate with angels, has sparked anything but purely angelic reaction.

The 35-year-old trained physical therapist and daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja said on a website for her alternative education centre that she has been communicating with angels since childhood.

The Astarte Education centre which she co-founded promises to teach students to "create miracles" in their lives "with angels and with your own force".

"I've always been interested in alternative forms of treatment," Martha Louise said in a statement on website

"It was while I dealt with horses that I first got in touch with angels. I later came to understand the value of this enormous gift and would like to share it with others."

The alternative centre's three-year programme costs 24,000 Norwegian crowns (NZ$5,154) per year.

The Royal Palace confirmed that the website accurately reflected the Princess's views but declined further comment.

Officials ranging from the state director of health, to a top politician to religious figures are blasting the princess for alleged offenses ranging from exploiting her position to misusing her physiotherapy training.

Health Director Lars E Hanssen told newspaper Aftenposten Wednesday that the princess needs to be "very careful" about how she uses her physiotherapy authorization in marketing her courses in healing, reading and alternative therapy.

"When you're an authorized health professional, like Märtha Louise is, there are certain demands," Hanssen said. "The more she advertises that she's a physiotherapist, the more careful she needs to be.

"If these angels will only help course participants, that's not treatment and there's no problem," he added. "But if the angels and the course are part of the treatment, that's a problem."

Dr Bernt Rognlien, one of Norway's leading figures within alternative medicine, thinks the princess' course is more religious in nature than health-related.

"The way I read her web site, this is a spiritual and religious offer, not something that can heal the sick," he said, adding that he's not sure the princess realizes that she can appear to be proselytizing when she uses religious terminology about angels and goddesses.

Inge Lønning, a former head of the University of Oslo and top politician for the Conservative Party, said the princess' course involving angels is on a collision course with Christianity.

Lønning, a professor of theology, said her web site resembles the type of religion that existed in Norway before Christianity was introduced, "that being faith in your own powers. In my opinion that can't be combined with Christian faith."

As a member of Norway's Royal Family, the princess is expected to uphold the tenets of the state Evangelical Lutheran church. Calls were made immediately for her resignation from the church, or even her excommunication.

A religious historian at Norway's technical university NTNU, Asbjørn Dyrendal, said he thinks the princess' venture is embarrassing.

"I think this must be embarrassing for the royal couple (Martha Louise's parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja) because they belong to a generation where this type of religion was viewed as eccentric," Dyrendal said. "But this is, of course, a family that's used to eccentric relatives within European royalty, so they may think it's normal for their daughter to charge fees to make contact with angels."

There's been no comment on Princess Märtha Louise's venture, nor the debate surrounding it, from either the king or the queen, both of whom are said to be on holiday.

A survey conducted by newspaper VG, meanwhile, suggests that four out of 10 Norwegians agree with the princess that humans can have supernatural powers, and that it's possible to communicate with angels.