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Romance Between Princess Catharina-Amalia and Prince Gabriel Could be Prevented by An Old Law


We often read tragic romance stories in classic literature. Thwarted by fate. Prevented by families. Obstructed by circumstances. Like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe. 

However, Romeo and Juliet; Pyramus and Thisbe were literary myths. And such sad circumstances rarely happened in the real world, especially in the modern era. 

But there's one rumored royal love story that seems to follow a similar trajectory of "forbidden love". 

The budding royal romance

HRH The Princess of Orange, Catharina-Amalia, the future Dutch monarch, and eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, and HRH Prince Gabriel of Belgium, the second child of King Philippe of the Belgians, and currently second-in-line to the throne, behind his older sister, Princess Elisabeth, are reportedly forging a "mutual understanding".

Their Royal Highnesses The Princess of Orange and Prince Gabriel of Belgium

Though neither royal house confirmed the rumors, at least one German publication, Gala, broke the news about the rumored royal romance. The reports claimed the two royals are privately communicating, having known each other for quite some time now.

Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands

Their parents, especially their mothers, are good friends, and constantly visiting each other's palaces. The Princess of Orange and Prince Gabriel are on the same age, both born in 2003. But a 19th-century Belgian law could prevent their romance to blossom into a serious commitment. 

Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands are good friends

The 200-year-old Law That Obstructs Their Romance

It was reported by HLN, a media outlet, that the budding royal love is hindered by a law that's been existing in Belgium for approximately 200 years now. And it's not religion, as some people might think. 

The Dutch royal family

Queen Maxima is a Roman Catholic who was permitted to marry then Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander, a Protestant. She did not give up her Catholic belief even after marriage.

Prince Gabriel and the rest of the Belgian royals are Catholics, while the Dutch royals are Protestants. But the law that hinders the love story is beyond religion.

The Belgian royal family

In a law passed in 1831, when Belgium became an independent monarchy, it was stipulated that no Belgian and Dutch royal family members could get married. And this law still existed in the Belgian constitution until now.

For the love of Heaven what kind of law is this? Preventing two people from falling in love and getting married, and living happily ever after? In the modern age?? 

Well, things happened.

Why on earth does this law even exist in the first place?

Here's the story.

Before Belgium became an independent monarchy, the country was part of the Southern Netherlands ruled by Dutch monarchs, but in August 1830, riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. People joined the mob and uprisings followed elsewhere in the country.

King William I of The Netherlands tried to restore peace and order, but to no avail. Uprising continued, and the revolutionaries demanded of secession of Belgium from the Dutch rule. Eventually, the States-General in Brussels voted for secession. And Belgium declared its independence. 

The country wished to remain a monarchy, so they elected a new king. 

Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, uncle to both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This is the reason why Belgian royals' surname is Saxe-Coburg de Gotha.

Prince Leopold, the widower of  Princess Charlotte of Wales (only daughter of King George IV of Britain who died from childbirth in 1817), accepted the election, and reigned in Belgium as King Leopold I. He was formally installed on July 21, 1831. Today, July 21 is celebrated as National Day in Belgium.

So where's the provision that prevented the love story between a Dutch royal and a Belgian royal? 

On February 7, 1831, the Belgian National Congress drafted its Constitution, and one emphasized provision in the constitution was: "People of Dutch descent could not control or occupy the Belgian kingdom".

This provision was further expounded to: 

"No members of the House of Orange or Dutch royal family could ever hold the throne in Belgium. And no person of Dutch descent can hold any position in the public sector or standing for elections in Belgium".

This constitutional provision still existed in Belgium. And could not be possibly repealed. Former Belgian president, Herman de Croo, was asked if this law can possibly be changed or abolished. "We can't move away (the law). It has been set as a precedent", he said.

King Philippe of the Belgians and his eldest son, Prince Gabriel

The obstruction of Prince Gabriel and Princess Catharina-Amalia's budding romance lies in the fact that he is currently second-in-line to the Belgian throne, and his older sister, The Duchess of Brabant, is still single, and in the event she can't make it to the throne without legitimate children, Prince Gabriel will take her place as heir-apparent.

The Princess of Orange and her two sisters, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane

The Princess of Orange is a future Dutch monarch and any future children she will bear would be Dutch citizen, and if her husband is Prince Gabriel of Belgium, the children will be most likely automatically removed from the Belgian line of succession.

Which will complicate matters.

King Philippe and his two children, Princess Elisabeth and Prince Gabriel

So while Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, is still single and no living children, Prince Gabriel remains her "spare". And since royal marriages needed a parliament approval, their union might never be approved by the Belgian Parliament. Uggh!

So Prince Gabriel and Princess Catharina-Amalia must wait for Princess Elisabeth's to get married and have her own children before they can give their romance a chance. Anyway, they're still very young. And, well, true love waits. And it's always worth the wait.

Why can't they just change this law? 

If in case the romance between Prince Gabriel and The Princess of Orange is really hopeless due to the 1831 decree, then Prince Gabriel, perhaps, starts looking elsewhere in the continent. He is a perfect match for The Princess of Asturias, who is destined to become Spain's Queen regnant.

 
Their Royal Highnesses Prince Gabriel of Belgium and Leonor, the Princess of Asturias

Prince Gabriel obtained his International Baccaulaureate after two years of studying English at the International School of Brussels. And current undergoing preparatory training at the National Mathematics and Science College in Warwickshire, United Kingdom.

Coincidentally, The Princess of Asturias is also currently in the United Kingdom, obtaining her International Baccaulaureate at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. 

This royal love story is an interesting tale to follow, because it rarely happens. In today's world of European royalty, only few royals ended up marrying fellow royals and aristocrats, most of them chose non-aristocratic commoners.

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