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Dutch royals' tug-of-title lands in highest court

[THE HAGUE] Royal watchers in the Netherlands are keenly awaiting the outcome of a dragging court battle between Dutch King Willem-Alexander's cousin and his illegitimate son, who is claiming his father's name and a royal title.

Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme took his illegitimate son, the 21-year-old Hugo Klynstra, to the country's highest court Monday after Klynstra claimed his father's surname shortly after turning 18 three years ago.

Prince Carlos is the grandson of Dutch princess Juliana, who ruled as queen in The Netherlands from 1948-1980, and is King Willem-Alexander's cousin.

Mr Klynstra was born from an illegitimate relationship between Prince Carlos and Dutch mother Brigitte Klynstra, as Juliana's first great-grandchild.

Although Carlos does not deny paternity - Klynstra's birth "having been mainly his mother's wish," - Carlos however is denying the child any family rights, Dutch newspapers said.

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But Hugo Klynstra is now claiming his title, which will change his name to Prince Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren de Bourbon de Parme and entitle him to be addressed as "your royal highness", the popular daily tabloid De Telegraaf said.

He also wants his name to be written into the Dutch Council of Nobility's register as a royal, according to the paper.

Monday saw the opening of a new chapter in the tug-of-title saga, with the case now being heard behind close doors at the Dutch Council of State, the country's highest administrative court.

"Hugo Klynstra has requested the (Dutch) Justice Minister to have his surname changed to Bourbon de Parme," court spokesman Gert-Jan Klapwijk told AFP.

Former Dutch justice minister Ard van der Steur agreed but Prince Carlos appealed the decision. Carlos' appeal was turned down in a lower court.

The final say now lies with the Council of State, which is "striving to hand down a ruling within the next six weeks", Mr Klapwijk said.


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