Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau

Princess Mabel
Spouse Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau
Issue
Countess Luana
Countess Zaria
Full name
Mabel Martine
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father Henk Los
Mother Flos Kooman
Born 11 August 1968 (1968-08-11) (age 41)

Dutch Royal Family
Coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg

HM the Queen *

Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau (née Mabel Martine Wisse Smit, born Mabel Martine Los 11 August 1968, Pijnacker, Netherlands) is the wife of Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, second son of Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus of the Netherlands.

Early life

She was born Mabel Martine Los to Hendrik Cornelis "Henk" Los (Voorschoten, 27 April 1944 - Loosdrecht, 18 February 1978) and wife Florence Malde Gijsberdina "Flos" Kooman (b. 1944), in turn daughter of Anthonie Kooman (Maastricht, 15 June 1915 - 's-Hertogenbosch, 8 November 1979) and wife Antoinette Petronella van Woerkom. Her father died when she was 9-years-old; when her mother married Peter Wisse Smit (15 October 1939 - Hilversum, 11 November 2000) in 1984, Mabel and her sister took their stepfather's surname. Princess Mabel has two younger sisters, Nicoline Los, then Nicoline Wisse Smit (b. 1970) and Eveline Wisse Smit (b. 1982). She grew up in Het Gooi in Central Netherlands.

She studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, graduating summa cum laude in 1993. During her study she also finished internships at the United Nations, Shell, ABN AMRO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She speaks fluent Dutch, English, Spanish and French and also learned Slavic languages during her work in the Balkans.

During her university years she showed special interest in human rights situations around the world, and later specialised in Balkan diplomacy and international relations. In 1995 she was present at the peace conference in Dayton, Ohio.

Work

Wisse Smit was co-founder of the "European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans" in 1994, which was a non-governmental organisation that strived for peace, democracy and stability in the Balkan, and had Margaret Thatcher, Simon Wiesenthal and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing among its members.

In 1995 she was one of the co-founders of War Child Netherlands, she was on the Trustee Board until 1999. In 1997, she was appointed director of EU affairs of the "Open Society Institute" in Brussels, one of the foundations of Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros. From 2002 to 2008, Princess Mabel has worked in the London branch of the Open Society Institute where she is the "International Advocacy Director", she "helps to coordinate all international OSI advocacy activities aimed at international policy change."

The World Economic Forum in Switzerland counted her as one of the hundred "Global Leaders for Tomorrow". She is a member of the worldwide Forum of Young Global Leaders, a thinktank and lobbygroup that aims to tackle global issues.

She is one of the founding members of the European thinktank European Council on Foreign Relations

As of 1 July 2008 she is the first Chief Executive Officer of the Global Elders, a group of eminent individuals convened by Nelson Mandela to use their wisdom, independent leadership and experience to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. She oversees the day-to-day operations for the Elders.

Marriage and children

Mabel Wisse Smit and Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau married in Delft on 24 April 2004. Because he did not ask the Dutch parliament for permission for the marriage, Prince Friso lost his membership in the Netherlands' Royal House. Therefore, neither Prince Friso, Princess Mabel, nor their children are members of the Royal House or in the Dutch line of succession.

Issue

Name Birth Birthplace
Emma Luana Ninette Sophie 26 March 2005 London
Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou 18 June 2006 London

The couple have two daughters. The elder, Emma Luana Ninette Sophie was born in London on 26 March 2005. She is called Luana, a Teutonic name meaning 'graceful warrior' (also 'gracious warrior' or 'female warrior'). The only information the couple released to the press after the birth of their daughter were three official photographs. Luana was christened by Huub Oosterhuis on 18 December 2005, in The Hague.

Their second child, a girl named Zaria (full name Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou), was born in London on 18 June 2006.

Style, titles and names

Styles of
Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
NL - COA.png
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am
  • Miss Mabel Martine Los (1968 - 1984)
  • Miss Mabel Martine Wisse Smit (she took her stepfather's surname, 1984 - 2004)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel Martine of Orange-Nassau, Countess of Orange-Nassau, Mrs. van Amsberg (since 24 April 2004)

Since her marriage, Mabel Wisse Smit may use the courtesy titles of Princess of Orange-Nassau, Countess of Orange-Nassau, Mrs. Van Amsberg. She was not legally created a princess, but received courtesy titles due to her marriage, since it is customary for wives of members of the royal family to take the titles of their husbands. It was decided that their children each would receive the titles of Count or Countess of Orange-Nassau and Jonkheer or Jonkvrouw van Amsberg.

Controversy

After announcing their marriage Prime-Minister Jan Peter Balkenende wrote in a letter to parliament that she had given "incompetent information" about the duration and extent of her contacts with drug kingpin Klaas Bruinsma, and that because of this, the government had decided not to seek permission for the marriage from parliament. In a letter to the Prime Minister dated 9 October, Prince Friso stated that the couple had given some incomplete information, but had not given any incorrect information nor did they lie. The couple admitted that the sailing friendship with Bruinsma was indeed closer than mentioned, it was however never a love or sexual relationship. This was later confirmed by Wisse Smit in a number of interviews. In a report later issued by the Dutch News Monitor Foundation, it was alleged that the Dutch media had contributed to blowing things out of proportions after the prime minister made 'unnuanced' comments during two news conferences. In this period she also received some negative publicity by revelations about her affair, which started circa 1993, with married Bosnian UN Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey. Prince Fisco and Princess Mabel have lived in London, England, since the revelations about her previous life were made public.

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