NEWS WATCH: Dutch Prince Friso Dies After Ski Accident

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By BosNewsLife News Center

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Prince Friso has died at age 44.


THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (BosNewsLife) Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, the younger brother of the new Dutch king, has died, 18 months after a skiing accident left him in a coma from which he never regained consciousness. He was 44.

For more than half a century the Dutch royal family spent their annual skiing holiday in the Austrian town of Lech.

But on February 17, 2012, tragedy struck. Prince Friso was in an avalanche and spent 25 minutes trapped under the snow.

More than a year of intensive care followed in Austria, Britain and eventually in a palace in the Netherlands. But he never really woke up from a coma despite showing what medics said were sometimes signs of "minimal consciousness."

On Monday, the government said Prince Friso died from complications that arose as a consequence of the brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation.

DIFFICULT TIME

It was a difficult time for the family, including for his mother, now known as Princess Beatrix. In her last annual Christmas remarks on national television before abdicating as Queen she reflected on that period.

"Allow love to unite. Let hope live and let faith give strength. These are inspiring words that have given my family strength this year," she said at the time.

Prince Friso will be remembered as a reluctant royal who valued privacy as he already made clear when he just finished university and began working for consultancy firm McKinsey.

"Honestly, after seven years of university, I have had it (with studying) and am looking forward to my first job,: the young prince said. "I never think I will be really able to go into hiding...But living as a normal person should be possible."

He later moved on to several other high-level positions and also became a founding shareholder of Wizzair, Eastern Europe's largest low cost airline. The prince was also very active for cultural and social projects through a foundation named after his later father Prince Claus von Amsberg, who died in 2002 following a long illness.

CONTROVERSIAL ROYAL

Yet Prince Friso wasn't without controversy.

He renounced his right to the Dutch throne when he married a commoner whose past was considered too controversial for her to become a member of the Dutch royal house.

In 2003, when he married Mabel Wisse Smit, Dutch media published details of her relationship with mobster Klaas Bruinsma. He was shot and killed in 1991 in front of the Amsterdam Hilton hotel.

But Prince Friso remained a beloved member of the Royal family. "A prince you remain forever", commented Dutch television.

He leaves behind his wife, Princess Mabel, and two daughters.

(BosNewsLife's NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).

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