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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

Duke of Parma’s Illegitimate son claims princely title

The Duke of Parma is currently facing an unusual situation. His illegitimate son, born from a relationship with Brigitte Klynstra in 1997, named Hugo Klynstra is claiming his father’s last name and the princely title that goes with it. The Duke of Parma married Annemarie Gualthérie van Weezel in 2010 and together they have two daughters. She is currently pregnant with their third child.

The Duke of Parma is the son of Princess Irene of the Netherlands and Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma. Princess Irene lost her succession rights in the Netherlands when she married the Catholic Duke of Parma as she did not request permission from the government.

Her elder sister became Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1980. Princess Irene and her husband had four children together, Carlos (the current Duke of Parma), Margarita, Jaime and Carolina. The marriage ended in divorce in 1981 and Princess Irene and her children relocated to the Netherlands. The Duke of Parma title is not recognized in the Netherlands and he is considered a pretender to the defunct throne of Parma. 

In 1996 by royal order the four children of Princess Irene were included into the Dutch nobility and given the title Prince(ss) of Bourbon-Parma with Royal Highness as style of address. The title can be inherited in the male line.

Hugo Klynstra turned 18 earlier this year and took the opportunity to request a change in last name as is his right by Dutch law. Any biological child with a known and proven father can request the surname from the father.

This request can be made from the age of 18 until the age of 22. If such a request is not made the current surname is considered permanent. His paternity was established by a court ruling shortly after birth and in agreement between both parents his birth was registered without the name of the father.

There is thus currently no legal relationship between the Duke of Parma and his son. The Duke of Parma has claimed it was ‘an independent decision’ on the part of Brigitte Klynstra to become a mother. The Dutch Nobility law from 1994 offers illegitimate children of nobility a right to the title that goes along with the last name. He could become, His Royal Highness Prince Hugo Roderik Sybren  of Bourbon- Parma. Before 1994 Hugo could have only requested his father’s last name as marriage was still a requirement for the acquirement of a title by any children.

So will Hugo Klynstra become pretender to the defunct throne of Parma after his father’s death? The answer would be no. Succession to the Duchy of Parma does not fall under Dutch law and thus is not affected by any change in Hugo’s title. The Duke of Parma has begun legal proceedings to prevent his son from taking up his last name. He has described the situation as ‘sad and personal’ and did not wish to comment further.