Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Dutch Series #8 - Prinses Irene

Princess Irene of the Netherlands (born 5 August 1939) is the second child of the late Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.
 Irene wearing the Carlist white (for women) beret at the yearly Carlist meeting on the  Montejurra
Following a long family tradition of causing scandals, Irene did her part very well. While studying Spanish in Madrid, she met Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, eldest son of Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain Xavier, Duke of Parma. In the summer of 1963, Princess Irene secretly converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. The first time the public or the Royal Family knew about the conversion was when a photograph appeared on the front page of an Amsterdam newspaper showing the Princess kneeling at a Mass in the Roman Catholic Church of Los Jerónimos in Madrid. News leaked out that she was engaged to Prince Carlos Hugo (b.1930), provoking a Protestant outcry and a constitutional crisis.
 Montejurra, 1973
A true drama in the Netherlands at the time, but much worse in my opinion, was her strong support for Carlism, the ultra-orthodox, conservative and sickly strain of Roman Catholicism that fought the Republic and offered strong support for Franco during and after the Spanish Civil War.
 Montejurra, 1973
Irene was very active in her husband's right-wing political cause, but over time they drifted away from right wing extremism to left wing sympathies and became a part of the international jet-set crowd. The prince, head of the Royal House of Bourbon-Parma, became a naturalized Spanish citizen in 1979. The couple had four children, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1981.
 Beret, badges and scarf of the Prinses Irene Brigade
Since then, Irene embraced new-age, conversing with trees and dolphins - a much more sympathetic cause (but I question how much sympathy the soldiers serving in the Prinses Irene Brigade feel for it...).

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