Dutch Prince Dies After Year in Coma

Prince Johan Friso buried in an avalanche while skiing in 2012

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2013 9:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – A sad coda to the story of Dutch Prince Johan Friso, who was buried in an avalanche while skiing nearly 18 months ago: The royal family today announced that the 44-year-old has died. CNN reports that the family described him as being in "a state of minimal consciousness" since the February 2012 accident in Austria. Prince Friso, who is the brother of the king, had been in a coma since. He spent more than a year in a London hospital before last month being moved to a palace in The Hague.

The AP recalls Friso by his nickname, "Prince Brilliant," and lists a long resume of study, including time at UC Berkeley. But it reports that the "central event of his life as a royal" came by way of his marriage to Mabel Wisse Smit. The two were engaged in 2003, and during her vetting to join the royal house, the pair decided not to disclose the full extent of a friendship she had had with drug baron Klaas Bruinsma while in college—a relationship that ultimately came to light. The two eventually married without parliamentary approval, which meant Friso had to give up his claim to the throne. But Radio Netherlands points out that, even as a child, he never wanted to be king.

In this Dec. 10, 2008 file photo Dutch Prince Johan Friso, left, and his wife Mabel, right, arrive for a gala dinner at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway.   (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)
In this Feb. 19, 2011 file photo Prince Friso and his wife Princess Mabel pose with their daughters Luana and Zaria for photographers during a photo session in the Austrian skiing resort of Lech.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File)
In this Oct. 15, 2002 file photo Dutch Queen Beatrix is comforted by her son Johan Friso, right, as Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, center, looks on during the funeral service of Dutch Prince Claus.   (AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, Pool, File)
In this April 24, 2004 file photo Dutch Prince Johan Friso, second son of Queen Beatrix, right, and Mabel Wisse Smit enter the church before exchanging wedding vows.   (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)
In this Aug. 23, 1989 file photo Prince Friso, left, Queen Beatrix, second left, Prince Willem-Alexander, center, Prince Claus, second right and Prince Constantijn, right, pose at Huis ten Bosch palace...   (AP Photo/ NFP)
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