Son of Dutch prince to be granted royal title after legal battle

02-03-2018

Son of Dutch prince to be granted royal title after legal battle

The Dutch royal family are expecting a new addition to their ranks imminently, but there will not be any glossy magazine spreads or appearances in front of the TV cameras.

A 21-year-old called Hugo is set to be formally granted the title of Royal Highness Prince Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren de Bourbon de Parme after a three-year legal battle with his father, Prince Carlos, a cousin to King Willem-Alexander and nephew to the king’s mother, Queen Beatrix, who abdicated from the throne in 2013.

There is no doubt about the paternity of the young blue-blood, which was determined following a court order pursued by the young man’s mother in 1999.

The delay in Hugo’s presence at the royal court has arisen because of Carlos’s insistence that he had an agreement with the mother, Brigitte Klynstra, a childhood friend, that it was a no-strings-attached relationship and there would be no family entanglement following conception.

The prince’s legal papers claim it was “an independent decision by Brigitte Klynstra to want to become a mother”, although the former lovers were regularly seen together in Hugo’s early years.

On his 18th birthday, in defiance of his father’s protests, Hugo sought to have his name changed to reflect his royal ancestry. He has also been seeking a listing in the register of the High Council of Nobility. Dutch law offers illegitimate children of nobility a right to a title.

Carlos told the Dutch media in 2015: “I’ve heard that Hugo Klynstra has made such a request. That request is, at my initiative, now subject of a proceeding. It is a personal matter for me with a sad background.”

In 2016 the security and justice ministry ruled in favour of Hugo’s claim. After Prince Carlos lodged an appeal, a court in The Hague concurred that the ministry’s decision was valid under Dutch law. 

On Monday the council of state, a constitutional advisory body and final court of appeal, was sitting behind closed doors to deal with Carlos’s final objections, but the title is widely expected to be formally conferred and made public within six to 12 weeks.

Prince Carlos is head of the House of Bourbon-Parma as well as a member of the Dutch royal family. He has an uncontested claim to the defunct throne of the Duchy of Parma, and is pretender to Spanish throne, a title his father pursued.

His parents were at the centre of arguably the Dutch royal family’s most serious constitutional crisis when Carlos’s mother, Princess Irene, the second daughter of Queen Juliana, converted to Catholicism in 1963 to marry Prince Carlos Hugo.

There was revulsion at the the match, in part because of Spain’s support for the Nazis in the war and the decision by Carlos Hugo to meet Franco, the country’s dictator, before the couple’s proposed nuptials.

The Queen and Prince Bernhard took a military aircraft to Spain to bring their daughter back home, only for the Dutch government to announce it would resign en masse if a queen of the Netherlands alighted on Spanish soil. The couple married a year later without any members of the Dutch family present.

Picture: His Royal Highness Prince Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren de Bourbon de Parme

Source: The Guardian 15th January 2018, online.

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