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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
German princess dies in motorway crash
Princess Filippa and Duke Vittorio Graf Mazzeti d'Albertis
The princess married in June 2001
A woman who died when a camper van crashed on the M5 in Somerset has been named as a German princess.

Filippa Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 21, a photographer and former model, was a distant relative of the Duke of Edinburgh.

A man who died following the accident has been identified as Roberto Porqueddu, 36, a photographer, from Florence, Italy.

The Winnebago camper van in which they were travelling collided with a council vehicle on the hard shoulder of the M5 near Clevedon on Sunday morning.

crashed vehicle
The 20-year-old driver of the van died in hospital

The princess was one of five people in the van.

They had been on a photographic assignment in Cornwall.

An Italian man in his 30s died later in Weston General Hospital, Weston-super-Mare.

The driver of the van, a 20-year-old man from South Africa, was taken to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, with serious leg injuries.

Two other people in the camper van, both women who live in London, were treated for cuts, bruises and shock in hospital. They were later released.

Council workers at the scene of the crash were also treated for shock.

A spokesman from Avon and Somerset police said the princess died instantly at the scene after sustaining "horrific head injuries".

Lived in Florence

Filippa, who was born Princess Maria Filippa Johanna Elisabeth Fernanda Yvonne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn at Koblenz on July 23, 1980, was married to an Italian duke and lived in Florence.

Her father Alexander is the seventh Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, descended from Count Ludwig Franz (1694-1750) and the Catholic branch of the German princely family.

The Duke of Edinburgh, whose family were related to the kings of Prussia and whose sisters married German princes, is a distant relative.

Filippa's mother, Countess Gabriela, told a German newspaper: "Not everyone is as lucky as to have had an angel on earth for 21 years.

"God lent her to us, now he has taken her back. She was taken from us at the height of her happiness."

The Princess's husband, Duke Vittorio Graf Mazzeti d'Albertis, was not travelling with his wife at the time of the crash.

Filippa, the fourth born, had six brothers and sisters.

"The Princess was a cousin of Prince Ernst of Hanover who is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco," said Burke's Peerage publishing director Harold Brooks-Baker.

"The Duke of Edinburgh is a distant relative."

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