Remembering Prince Friso – Ten years on

prince friso orange nassauPhoto: H G Cladder - CC BY-SA 3.0

Today marks ten years since the untimely death of Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, the second son of former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Prince Friso was born on 25 September 1968, the son of then Princess Beatrix and her husband, Prince Claus. He had an elder brother, now King Willem-Alexander, and a younger brother, Prince Constantijn. He was baptised on 28 December 1968 in Utrecht with the future King Harald of Norway, Johan Christian Baron von Jenisch, Herman van Roijen, then Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Christina von Amsberg standing as godparents.

After graduating from high school, he studied mechanical engineering at the University of California before returning to the Netherlands, where he studied at the Delft University of Technology and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, obtaining an engineer’s degree in aeronautical engineering and an MSc degree in business economics. He received an MBA from INSEAD in France.

On 24 April 2004, he married Mabel Wisse Smit without seeking parliamentary approval to do so. This meant that he was no longer in the line of succession. The newlyweds moved to London, where their two daughters, Luana and Zaria, were born. They are titled as Countess of Orange-Nassau.

On 17 February 2012, Prince Friso was buried under an avalanche during a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria. He was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen. He was in a coma before this progressed to a minimally conscious state. He died on 12 August 2012 after suffering from complications.

He was buried in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery at Lage Vuursche, near where his mother now lives. Before his accident, he had been working as a chief financial officer for URENCO.

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