Family and friends of Prince Friso paid a moving and emotional tribute during an intimate 70 minute funeral service at the small 17th century protestant Stulp Church in the Dutch village of Lage Vuursche, Friday afternoon.
The earthly remains of Prince Friso, who died Monday August 12th having suffered severe brain damage 18 months earlier when he was buried under an avalanche while skiing off piste in Austria, were brought to Lage Vuursche from the royal palace in The Hague that morning. Princess Mabel accompanied the body of her husband on its last journey part of the way.
The Dutch Royal Family gathered at Drakensteyn Castle, Friso’s boyhood home in the leafy village some 12 kilometres from the central Dutch city of Utrecht and not far from the former royal palace at Soestdijk, at the time home of Friso’s grandparents Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.
Media and the general public were asked to keep their distance and shields had been erected around the small local cemetery to keep prying eyes out from the short ceremony which would follow the funeral service.
Princess Mabel and Princess Beatrix with Mabel and Friso’s daughters Luana and Zaria led mourners from Drakensteyn Castle, Beatrix’ former and future country residence, to the Castle Lane and the adjoining cemetery and church. The young countesses were dressed in white, as where their cousins – the children of Friso’s brothers King Willem-Alexander and Prince Constantijn.
All members of the Royal Family were present, including Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme’s fiancee Viktória Cservenyál (both in centre). By a strange stroke of fate Jaime and Viktória announced they were getting married only hours before news broke of Prince Friso’s death. Bernardo Guillermo (at left), son of Princess Christina, was accompanied by his siblings Nicolás and Juliana, but not by his wife Eva, who is embroiled in several scandals in the US.
* King Harald V of Norway joined the Dutch royals. He was godfather to Prince Friso with whom he kept in close contact over the years.
The funeral service was closed to the media and public but the Royal Family allowed for some short footage to be aired several hours afterwards. The Reverend Carel ter Linden commemorated the ‘unknown’ Prince who he described as ‘intelligent. outspoken, direct but at the same time reserved, except when he was among family and friends’. The prince opened up after the loss of his father in 2002 and ‘changed’ his friends and family had told Ter Linden after the birth of his two daughters whom he adored.
Prince Friso, who at the time of his ultimately fatal skiing accident was CFO of Urenco and who lived in London for well over 13 years, was very much a familyman. ‘He loved spending time with Luana and Zaria, playing games with them, reading of constructing planes and vulcanoes’, Ter Linden said, while adressing the two girls directly in the sun lit church. Ter Linden knew Friso well. He had conducted his marriage service in 2004, and had led the funeral services for Friso’s father Prince Claus and grandfather Prince Bernhard.
Among the hymns sung were two by another good friend of the Royal Family, Huub Oosterhuis who also gave the benediction at the conclusion of the non traditional and very personal and intimate service in which King Willem-Alexander read from the scriptures and Prince Constantijn and Unilever CFO Jean-Marc Huët shared their personal recollections of Friso.
For a report of the funeral: Bell tolls as Prince Friso is laid to rest