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European Royals

First royal to die of COVID-19 finally buried over a year after her death

Seventeen months after her death, Princess Marie-Thérèse of Bourbon-Parma finally received her family funeral, after health restrictions had only offered the opportunity for a small ceremony in Paris following her passing in March 2020. 

Her family was not able to attend because she passed away in the French capital and her family lives split between Switzerland and the Netherlands, and both countries at the time had already closed their borders to outgoing and incoming passengers, with the only exceptions being citizens who were abroad when the borders closed and were still being repatriated. 

More than a year later, and the situation has definitely improved to the point where borders are opened once again, albeit with restrictions limiting incoming people to those with negative tests or proof of vaccination. 

However, this easing of restrictions has resulted in the family being able to hold a small ceremony in Basilica di Santa Maria della Steccata in Parma, Italy, where she was buried together with the rest of the Bourbon-Parma Family. 

She was the first known royal, albeit from a non-reigning family, to pass away because of coronavirus, dying in a Parisian hospital at 86-years-old. 

Though she never married or had children, her extended family was present to say their final goodbyes, including her nieces and nephews from her brother Carlos Hugo, which was the head of the Bourbon-Parma Family until his death in 2010. His place was taken by his first child, Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma, who also paid tribute to his aunt on her passing.

Princess Marie-Thérèse’s death was announced by her brother, Prince Sixte Henry, on his Facebook page, and tributes poured in, remembering her fight for democracy and social justice in Spain. When Juan Carlos became King, she received Spanish citizenship by royal decree and lived in Madrid for a few years before moving to Paris. 

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