Prince Friso of the Netherlands who died earlier today at the age of 44
The announcement confirmed that the prince had died as a result of complications following the brain damage suffered when he was buried after being caught up in an avalanche while ski-ing off piste in the Austrian resort of Lech. He spent several months in hospital in London and late last year doctors said he had shown what they called minimal signs of consciousness. He was transferred back to the Netherlands and had been at one of the royal family's residences, Huis ten Bosch, since July. He died there this morning.
Prince Friso with his wife, Mabel, for whom he gave up his place in the line of succession
Born Johan Friso Bernhard Christian David in Utrecht in 1968, he was second in line for the Dutch throne for twenty three years until the arrival of his niece, Catharina Amalia, in December 2003. But he had already indicated by then that he would be giving up his rights to the throne - earlier that year he announced his engagement to Mabel Wisse Smits and inconsistencies in what she originally told the then Dutch Prime Minister about her past relationships led to the couple choosing to give up dynastic rights for the prince and his descendants. The couple married in 2004 and had two daughters, Luana and Zaria. Since then he had been known officially as Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau and he was no longer a member of the royal household although remained a member of the royal family.
The loss of Friso means that the new king will have to start his reign with a burial for the little brother he saw brought home from hospital to be his playmate and friend. And the former queen begins her retirement mourning the little boy who was always known as Friso.