|all images: Marlene A. Eilers-Koenig Collection|
February 9, 1964
Princess Irene of the Netherlands renounced her rights to the Dutch throne, according to the Associated Press. She will live in exile rather than give up marriage to the man of her heart, a Roman Catholic Spanish prince.
Her fiancé, Prince Carlos-Hugo of Bourbon-Parma was with Princess Irene when she made her decision shortly after midnight at the Soestdijk Palace in the Hague.
Dutch Premier Victor Marijnen made the announcement to the public, providing the "solution of the crisis and the climax of the most dramatic royal romance since Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936" for the woman he loved.
The meeting between the Premier and Queen Juliana, her husband, Prince Bernhard and Princess Irene and Prince Carlos lasted for a "harrowing" five hours as they sought to find a "solution to the romance that rocked the throne of the Netherlands."
Dutch radio broke its "rigid Sabbath silence" for the first time since the 1953 disastrous floods to break the news.
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard said: "We rejoice ourselves fullheartedly in her happiness and that of her future husband and our best wishes will always accompany them."
Although Princess Irene will live abroad after her marriage, she said "the Netherlands will always keep the same dear place in my heart."
The couple are expected to live in Paris after their wedding. Prince Carlos was born in Paris. The wedding will take place in Madrid in April or May.
Premier Marijnen also released a statement: "The Princess let it be known to the Government that it is her wish that no bill to grant her consent for her future marriage will be submitted to the States General. On the basis of the above circumstances, the Government decided not to promote submission to such a bill.
"Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of the Netherlands have stated that they have completely approved of the engagement."
He also emphasized that "Her Royal Highness, Princess Irene, will after her marriage, settle with her husband abroad."
The 24-year-old Princess is "tall and a thoroughly independent person." She spent some time with her mother, the Queen, on her statement to the Dutch people about her decision.
"In recent weeks many guesses have been made about my plans for the future. I regret that I was not earlier in a position to remove the uncertainty arising from this and the tensions arising from it. Wholeheartedly, I hope that you will accept from me that serious reasons of a private nature thwarted me.
"My mother said her in her radio speech of Feb. 4 that I told her that afternoon an engagement in which I had been rejoicing would not go through. Fortunately, I can tell you now that the difficulties have been completely removed.
"I am glad to announce my engagement to Prince Don Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Madrid. Our intention is to marry in the foreseeable time. I will not continue to live here. I should not think this would imply a farewell. I have had here a happy6 youth in my parental home and I have also so often and so strongly experienced your love that I am not only grateful for it but can assure you that I gladly will be quite often in the future among you because the Netherlands will always take up the same dear spot in my heart."
After Irene's statement was made public, her parents issued a message: "We would like to add what our daughter Irene has told you that we are both overjoyed at the happiness of her and her future husband and that our very best wishes will always accompany them."