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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Royal wedding snubs Dutch throne
Dutch Prince Johan Friso weds Mabel Wisse Smit
The bride's murky past put paid to a government blessing
Dutch Prince Johan Friso has married Mabel Wisse Smit - and, in so doing, has renounced his claim to the throne.

The government refused to approve the union because it said the couple had given "incorrect" information during the prenuptial vetting process.

Their engagement met controversy after the press found evidence Ms Wisse Smit had failed to admit the extent of an earlier association with a drug lord.

The pair beamed as they walked down the aisle of Delft's Old Church.

US billionaire George Soros and European royalty were among the 1,400 guests at the wedding.

"I wish you a happy wedding, with much privacy," said Mayor Hein von Oorschot earlier, before performing the civil marriage ceremony, according to AP.

Commoner wife

When he said "I do", Prince Johan lost his status as third in line to the throne - behind his elder brother Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Willem Alexander's infant daughter Amalia.

He retains the title of Prince of Orange-Nassau. His wife will remain a commoner, but their children will be dukes and duchesses.

Under Dutch law, royals who aspire to the throne must receive permission from the government and parliament to marry as the cabinet will bear responsibility for their actions.

DUTCH ROYAL WOES
2001 - Protests meet Prince Willem Alexander's decision to marry daughter of a minister in Argentina's military dictatorship - but wedding only held after it is agreed her father will not attend
1965 - Queen Beatrix's engagement to Prince Claus - a former soldier in the German Army which occupied the Netherlands in WWII - is met with public riots
1963 - Public outcry when it is revealed Queen Beatrix's sister Irene converted to Roman Catholicism to marry a Spanish noble, despite ancient enmity between Catholic Spain and Netherlands Protestants
Ms Wisse Smit initially admitted that she had vaguely known Klaas Bruinsma - whose organisation allegedly dealt in drugs and carried out contract killings - while she was a student in 1989.

But the Dutch press uncovered evidence the relationship had been more than a passing acquaintance.

In October, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the couple had given "incomplete and incorrect" information during the routine vetting process and said he would not be asking his government to approve the union.

In a TV interview last week, the couple said they were going ahead with the wedding anyway.

"It's too bad. It was unwise not to disclose all the facts," Prince Johan reportedly said.

He said the pair had wished to disclose all necessary details, but also wanted to protect their privacy.

Ms Wisse Smit - the head of a Brussels institute which promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law - maintained she had not had an "intimate relationship" with Bruinsma.




SEE ALSO:
Dutch prince renounces throne
10 Oct 03  |  Europe
Dutch royal row 'damages PM'
13 Mar 03  |  Europe


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