Monday 17 June 2019

Prince faces loss of Dutch throne over Argentine girlfriend

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels

PRINCE Willem Alexander of the Netherlands may face a choice between the Dutch throne and the daughter of an Argentine politician linked to the former military junta.

The prince's burgeoning love affair with Maxima Zorreguieta (29) threatens to set off a constitutional crisis in Holland after a group of MPs said they would not allow anyone suspected of human rights abuses to be associated with the royal family.

Her father, Jorge Zorreguieta, was agriculture minister in the military dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla from 1979 to 1981, at the height of the "dirty war" against the political Left. "With a father like that, Maxima cannot become my queen," said Jan van Walsem, of the D66 party.

One newspaper suggested the prince should consider stepping down as heir to the throne if he is determined on an expected engagement.

Miss Zorreguieta, educated at the English-style Northlands School in Buenos Aires, met the prince (33), while working for Deutsche Bank in New York two years ago. She has moved to Brussels within easy reach of The Hague and is learning Dutch, a prerequisite for a queen.

Under the Dutch constitution, parliament must assent to royal marriage, especially when a Roman Catholic is marrying into the family. Jan Marijnnissen, a Socialist MP, said: "If the prince dies on the throne, she could occupy the post of head of state."

(* Daily Telegraph, London)

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