Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau’s marriage to Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau was the stuff of fairy tales. He gave up his right to the throne and was no longer considered a member of the royal family. Hence, he was known as ‘of Orange-Nassau’ and not as ‘of The Netherlands’. He was second in line after his elder brother Willem-Alexander at the time of his marriage in 2003. The had two daughters Luana and Zaria, who are styled as ‘Countess of Orange-Nassau’. This fairytale was tragically cut short when Prince Friso was buried in an avalanche on 17 February 2012, and he died on 12 August 2013 after a lengthy coma.
Prince Friso’s tragic accident saw Princess Mabel resign as CEO of the Elders. She continues to work with them as a member of their advisory council for their initiative ‘Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.’ The Elders is an international organisation consisting of public figures, such as statesmen, activists and human rights advocates, who were brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. Girls Not Brides is just one of their initiatives and means to connect all those working to end child marriage around the world. They aim to end isolation and to ensure girls can reach their full potential. Member organisations are based in more than 70 countries around the world.
Princess Mabel has brought ‘Girls Not Brides‘ to New York for the UN summit on sustainable development last week. With speeches from Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai and Princess Mabel’s brother-in-law King Willem-Alexander the 193 countries signed off on an ambitious agenda, which besides tackling poverty, climate change and inequality also includes the goal to end child marriage by 2030. It’s a part of Goal 5 and states:
“Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations. This can be achieved through legal reforms, policies and protection measures, community mobilization and engagement of religious and community leaders, as well as those affected.”
Princess Mabel is still in New York to promote ‘Girls Not Brides’ and has also been on a discussion panel with Chelsea Clinton.