February 8, 1964
Princess Irene of Netherlands returned to the Netherlands today with her fiancé, Prince Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma. Their engagement was announced earlier today in Madrid by Prince Carlos Hugo's family, reports the New York Times.
A "wildly happy crowd of thousands" shouted "Carlos, Carlos," as the Prince Carlos Hugo and Princess Irene boarded a Dutch Air Force airplane, "piloted by Prince Bernhard.
Queen Juliana, and her three other daughters, Princess Beatrix, Princess Margriet and Princess Christina, were waiting at the airport to greet the young couple. Princess Cecilia, one of Prince Carlos Hugo's four sisters, was also on the plane.
Prince Carlos-Hugo, 33, is the elder son of 75-year-old Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma. He is a French national and is a captain in the French Air Force.
Princess Irene and Prince Carlos Hugo "have met abroad for several years." The publicity shy princess was successfully able to keep the romance "out of the public eye."
The Dutch cabinet was able to keep Irene's suitor a secret, which helped "considerably" as the Dutch media focused on another Spaniard, Prince Alfonso de Borbon y Dampierre, a grandson of the late King Alfonso XIII.
The Dutch government chose to "dispel the uncertainty" about the suitor because "it did not want publicity about Prince Carlos Hugo before the "political problems had been solved."
Prince Carlos Hugo was born April 8, 1930 in Paris, the son of Prince Xavier of Bourbon -Parma and Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset, He has four sisters and one younger brother, Prince Sixte.
While growing up, Prince Carlos "watched his father's efforts to maintain a position in the tight world of European royalty." Prince Xavier's "failure is said to have contributed to his own disillusionment with the role of royalty in modern Europe."
He completed a "course in law" at the University of Paris, and he studied economics at Oxford. In 1958, he worked for several months as an assistant to "the general manager of one of West Germany's biggest banks."
Four years later, Prince Carlos Hugo embarked on a "personal investigation of conditions in strike-plagued northern Spain," working "incognito for a month as a miner in an Asturian pit." During this time, he "developed an acute sense of social problems."