News of the unfortunate death of Prince Friso, aged just 44 years old, has just been announced in the Dutch Press nationwide. The previously comatose Prince, younger brother of the recently sworn-in King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander, passed away this morning at Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague as a result of complications caused by a skiing accident in the Austrian village of Lech on the 17th of February 2012. Despite being an experienced skier, Prince Friso was buried by an avalanche whilst skiing off-piste and suffered cardiac arrest and severe hypothermia, his heart having stopped for a full 50 minutes before he was resuscitated and flown to hospital. There it quickly became clear that he had suffered massive brain damage as a result. He had remained in a coma ever since. He was transferred to London, where he and his wife Mabel Wisse Smit and their two daughters lived, and admitted to Wellington Hospital on the first of March that same year.
With his situation being described as very grave, there was little to no more news of any improvement until the news that last month he was showing some signs of minimal consciousness and was being transferred back to the Netherlands to Huis ten Bosch where he remained until his death.
During his lifetime Prince Friso and more precisely his wife Mabel Wisse Smit had been no strangers to controversy. Mabel Wisse-Smit was known to have associated (whether or not romantically is still disputed) with one of the Netherlands most infamous gangsters, Klaas Bruinsma, earning her a less than squeaky clean image. So much so that Prince Friso’s marriage to her resulted in him being excluded from succession to the Dutch throne, as he chose not to seek permission from the Dutch Parliament to avoid further scandal.
Despite this, it seems Princes Mabel will now mostly be remembered for the dignity and grace with which she has handled herself during what must be the most heartbreaking and trying time of her life. As a widow, she must now raise their two daughters, Luana and Zaria without the husband who loved her so much, that he gave up his right of succession for her.
It is as of yet unclear whether Prins Friso will be buried in the family crypt in Delft where his father Prince Claus is also buried.