Saturday, February 17, 2024

Is the Duchess of Brabant dating a fellow student?

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Today's Het Laatste Nieuws, a Dutch-language Belgian newspaper, features an exclusive by their royal correspondent Wim Dehandschutter.    Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, the heir to the throne, is "said to be in love for the first time," according to Dehanschutter.   The young man is Rochford-born Nicholas Alexander Dodd.    The 20-year-old Briton is a student at Lincoln College, Oxford, where Princess Elisabeth also studies.

Princess Elisabeth is the eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.  

The couple first met in 2021 at Matriculation Day, the start of Oxford's Academic year.   Elisabeth, 22, studies history and politics, and Nicholas is "enrolled in the history program."  They joined the same study group, and, according to Dehanschutter, "there was an immediate connection.  

Nicholas and Elisabeth have also written essays together, and are often in each other's company.  Wim Dehandshutter's source says the relationship between the couple "transcends friendship."

Nicholas graduated from Rochdale Sixth Form College where he wrote about applying to Oxford University.  He said: "I applied to Oxford because I wanted the opportunity to study at a world-class university."

In 2019, Nicholas, a former head boy at Beech House School in Rochdale,  was nominated for the ISA Whitbread Prize.  At the time, the school's principal said, "Nicholas was nominated for his involvement in – and service to – wider aspects of school and community life; in conjunction with achieving academic excellence in GCSE results."

[ISA stands for Independent Schools Association.]

Nicholas's family, however, has thrown cold water on this story.  The Manchester Evening News is reporting that his family has "shut down rumors" of a romance with Princess Elisabeth.  The newspaper's reporter visited Dodd's home in Whitworth and spoke to a family member who chose to remain anonymous.  The reporter asked if Nicholas was dating Princess Elisabeth.   

The family member said "No, that's false.  They just go to the same college and study together.  Just like all his other friends, I can't comment further."

There will be no comment from the Belgian Royal Palace, which does not discuss Princess Elisabeth's private life.

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