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The Netherlands

Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau turns 52

mabel
© RVD - Jeroen van der Meyde

Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau was born Mabel Martine Los on 11 August 1968 to Hendrik Los and Florence Kooman in Pijnacker, Netherlands. When she was nine, her father passed away, leaving her mother, Mabel and her sister. Eventually, her mother remarried to Peter Wisse Smit and had two more girls. Mabel and her sister took their stepfather’s surname and grew up in Het Gooi, Netherlands.

Mabel Wisse Smit has always been involved in global politics and human rights issues. She graduated cum laude from the University of Amsterdam with a degree in politics and economics. In 1993, she founded the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans and was its CEO until 1997. During this time, she also began the Dutch foundation War Child and in 2002, started an NGO “Publish What You Pay.” From 2008 through 2012, Mabel served as the first CEO of The Elders, a group non-governmental public figures to promote peace, human rights and justice, founded by former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela. She is the initiator Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

In 2000, Mabel met Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, and in 2003, they married. However, because they did not seek approval of the Dutch parliament for their union, Friso lost his place in the line of succession to the Dutch throne and was no longer a member of the Royal House. They married in the Netherlands in April 2004, and Mabel received the title of ‘princess’ as a courtesy. Soon after, they moved to the London suburb of Kew. The couple has two daughters, Countess Emma Luana Ninette Sophie, known as ‘Luana’ and Countess Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou, known as ‘Zaria.’ Prince Friso was involved in an avalanche accident in 2012 and passed away in 2013 at the age of 44.

Today, Princess Mabel is Chair of Girls Not Brides and board member of Vow to End Child Marriage. She serves on the advisory boards of Global Witness, The Jo Cox Foundation, Malala Fund, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Elders and is Chair Emeritus of the European Council of Foreign Relations. She and her two daughters continue to live in London.