It’s hard to know which was more surprising Princess Maria Carolina de Bourbon’s tight choice of athleisure-wear as she wandered the streets of Saint-Tropez.
Or the claim that her sister, Princess Maria Chiara, has a ‘very special relationship’ with the 17-year-old heir to the Danish throne.
‘We’ve known each other since we were little, my father Carlo is godfather to his younger sister,’ she breathlessly told Italian paper Corriere. But it was her megaphone-strength hint that she ‘hopes to meet Queen Margrethe soon’ which sent rumours of an engagement into overdrive.
If eyebrows are raised in Europe’s royal palaces it would be no surprise. Seventeen-year-old Christian belongs to a notably staid branch of European monarchy, presided over by the redoubtable 83-year-old Queen Margrethe.
Princesses Chiara and Carolina, meanwhile, belong to a junior arm of the Spanish Bourbons and are never-knowingly under-TikTokked.They have their own YouTube channel where they ask each other such penetrating questions as ‘have you ever been in love’ and ‘have you ever been kissed?’
And while stony-faced Queen Margrethe has been tightening the Danish royal belt controversially removing royal titles from junior members of the family Chiara, 18, and Carolina, 19, have their own fearsomematriarch, the bouffant-haired ‘momager’ Princess Camilla.
Princess Maria Chiara Di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, 18, with her sister in Saint-Tropez
The sisters have been spending the summer on the French Riviera
The sisters with their father Prince Carlo and ‘momager’ Princess Camilla
Chiara and her sister, Princess Maria Carolina di Bourbon, are known to chase the spotlight, often posing for photos on glamorous trips and giving tell-all interviews to Italian media (pictured with their father in Monaco)
Rumours that Princess Maria was dating Prince Christian were sparked after they were photographed standing next to each otherat the Monaco Grand Prix in May
The family are friendly with Donald Trump and have visited Mar-a-Lago
PrincessCamilla often cosies up to other royals such as Sarah, Duchess of York
Not content with appearing alongside her daughters on Instagram snaps, she posts her own.
Today, for example, she shared a picture from the legendary Club 55 with Saint-Tropez arm-in-arm with Prince Michael of Kent.
The girls were also there, dressed in matching blue and pink pyjamas.
There is much, then, for Queen Margrethe to ponder – including a tangled 100m inheritance case brought against Camilla by her sister and a subsequent fine by the Jersey courts. Camilla denies wrongdoing and the case continues.
What then of the young couple?
While Chiara likes to appear in the public eye, it seems Prince Christian has kept his private life quiet and has said he won’t take a royal pension when he turns 18.
He will only take money from the royal grant if his father ascends the throne, and will remain limited in his royal duties until he turns 21.
Chasing the spotlight – and bragging about their connections – is perhaps unsurprising given the showbusiness past of Chiara’s family.
The Italian heiress is the youngest daughter to Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, and Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro. Her parents are family friends with Christian’s parents Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik.
They’re also close to the scandal-ridden Prince Albert of Monaco and have spent a lot of time in Monte Carlo.
Prince Carlo holds a claim to the now defunct throne of the former House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, a cadet branch of the Spanish royal family, which descends from the Capetian Dynasty and ruled over southern Italy and Sicily during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Chiara won’t inherit the titles but says she has ‘the same responsibility to continue the history of my royal family’.
She added: ‘I feel the link with the land where the Bourbons reigned. I’ve just been with my parents in Hungary, an official trip, and I’m learning the sense of role. I understood that Royal Highness perhaps means being worthy, not disappointing those who look at you. It’s a responsibility.’
Her mother, Princess Camilla, born Crociani, is the daughter of Italian industry tycoon Camilla Crociani and the actress turned dancer Edy Vessel.
While the Danish royal family is yet to comment on the rumours, Chiara is not afraid to flex her connections.
‘The Bourbon family is related to almost all the royal families or former rulers of Europe, it’s a kind of big club,’ she said.
‘King Felipe VI of Spain, he is my father’s cousin and I am very close to the heir, Leonor, who, like me, loves sports and in particular women’s football’.
‘Then the Belgian royals were often our guests in the summer in Saint-Tropez and one of my best friends is Alexandra of Hanover, Carolina of Monaco’s youngest daughter.’
Camilla is not as close to her family, having been embroiled ina battle with her sister over their inheritance for over a decade.
The family feud began when their mother set up a trust fund for her two daughters, Cristiana and Camilla.
Princess Camilla, born Crociani, is the daughter of Italian industry tycoon Camilla Crociani and actress Edy Vessel (pictured)
Princess Camilla married Prince Carlo – head of the Italian House of Bourbon des Deux Siciles – in a ceremony described as the ‘blue-blood wedding of the decade’
Camilla has been embroiled in a legal battle with her sister Cristiana (right) for decades over a trust fund set up by their mother (left)
Princess Camilla Crociani in 2010, left, and her mother Edy, right, in 2003
The family often attend glamorous events
The family at Mar-A-Lago with Donald Trump
Princess Maria Chiara Di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, 18, is the daughter of Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, 59, and Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro, 51
Prince Carlo holds a claim to the now defunct throne of the former House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, a cadet branch of the Spanish royal family, which descends from the Capetian Dynasty and ruled over Southern Italy and Sicily during the 18th and 19th centuries
But when 100million of investments and art was taken from the fund in 2010 and transferred into Edy’s name, Cristiana feared the cash was being given to her sister.
The socialite began legal proceedings in 2011, claiming steps were being taken to block her from inheriting the family’s estate.
But Princess Camilla has refused to disclose the location of valuables including a Gaugin painting worth 49.9million.
Details of the feud emerged when Princess Camilla was ordered to pay a 2million fine by the Royal Court in Jersey which ruled she had ignored a court order.
Her application to stay the order has now been rejected and she has been given two months to pay the 2million fine. If she fails to do so, she faces a 12-month prison sentence.
Princess Camilla(pictured with her mother) has refused to disclose the location of valuables including a painting worth 49.9m
The dispute began in 2011, when Cristiana (pictured with Prince Albert II of Monaco) began legal proceedings claiming that steps were being taken to block her from inheriting the family’s wealth
Princess Camilla has lodged an appeal against the fine, which was issued on December 22, by claiming that she ‘does not have immediate access to 2million’.
She also requested an ‘application of stay’ – a suspension of proceedings – in relation to the order.
In rejecting this, the court pointed out that the princess had been aware for some time that a heavy fine was a possibility. The case is ongoing.
Chiara and her older sister Maria enjoy a life of luxury, spending their time between Italy, Monaco, Paris and Saint-Tropez, soaking up the sun, sporting designer labels and making the most of their family’s wealth.
The family in a recent Instagram picture – they often share their life online
The family often post pictures to Instagram
Three official new portraits were recently released of Prince Christian of Denmark ahead of his 18th birthday
A Danish source told Woman’s Day: ‘Chiara ticks all the right boxes – she’s funny, intelligent and very well connected via her social media.Of course, Mary would love to see him date someone like Chiara’
Because Chiara is the younger sibling, she will not inherit her father’s title and duties, or his claim to Head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies – they will go to her elder sister
(L-R) Prince Vincent, Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Danish Crown Prince Frederik, Princess Josephine and Crown Princess Mary pose in front of the Palace in April 2022
They are also actively involved with charity work and rub shoulders with the most elite socialites of Europe, speaking English, French and Italian fluently.
The two princesses regularly share snaps of their glamorous lifestyles on Instagram, posting pictures from destinations around the globe, from Paris to Dubai and New York.
Because Chiara is the younger sibling, she will not inherit her father’s title and duties, or his claim to Head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies – they will go to older sister Maria Carolina, Duchess of Calabria and of Palermo (or Carolina for short).
The pair aren’t afraid to show off their extravagant lifestyle either with frequent trips to Trump’s Mar-a-lago complex in Florida, and Chiara recently telling Italian media about her trip to Denmark.
This week, the pair were pictured shopping in Saint-Tropez, with Camilla wearing leggings and a crop top and Chiara wearing for a dress.
Despite Chiara’s family having no official remit, they are high profile, and spend their time doing charity work and promoting the interest of Southern Italy.
Who are the ancient royal family of Bourbon-Two Sicilies?
The last King of Two Sicilies was Francis II, who was overthrown in 1860 and spent the remainder of his life in exile
The Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies – or Bourbon des Deux Siciles – is an ancient branch of the Spanish royal family which ruled parts of southern Italy for more than 100 years from 1734 to 1861. Its descendants still carry the name today, some 150 years later.
The line descends from Philippe de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France (16381715), who established the Bourbon dynasty in Spain in 1700 as Philip V (16831746).
In 1759 King Philip’s younger grandson was granted the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, becoming Ferdinand IV and III (17511825), respectively, of those realms. His descendants occupied the joint throne (renamed ‘Kingdom of the Two Sicilies’ in 1816) until 1860.
The family, then led byFrancis II, was overthrown in 1860 by Italian generalGiuseppe Garibaldi, who proclaimed a dictatorship on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II, thethe King of Piedmont-Sardinia and later King of Italy. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Kingdom of Sardinia were merged into the newly formed Kingdom of Italy.
The deposedFrancis II and his wife spent time in Rome as guests of the Pope where they ran a government in exile. They left the city before it was occupied by the Italians in1870.
They led a wandering life from then on, living in Austria, France, and Bavaria.
Francis II died in 1894 and was succeeded by his half-brother, Prince Alfonso, who was in turn succeeded by his son,Prince Ferdinand Pius, Duke of Calabria.
Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, 57 and Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro, 49 with their daughters Princess Maria Carolina, 17 and Maria Chiara Di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, 15
The succession has been disputed since Ferdinand’s death in 1960. Both his nephew Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, and brother Prince Ranieri, pictured, laid claim to the throne. This feud continues between their descendants today
The succession has been disputed since Ferdinand’s death in 1960 because he had six daughters and no sons to carry the family line.
Both his nephew Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, and brother Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro, laid claim to the throne. This feud continues between their descendants today.
Chiara and Carolina are the daughters of Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, grandson of Prince Ranieri. The claimant on the other side of the family is Prince Pedro, Duke of Calabria, grandson of Infante Alfonso.
Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, grandson of Prince Ranieri, and his wife Camilla
Prince Carlo, who only has two daughters, has overturned centuries ofmale primogeniture and has stated his title will pass to his eldest daughter, Carolina.
Prince Carlo married his wife Camilla, daughter of Italian film starEdoarda Crociani, better known as Edy Vessel, in 1998 at Monte Carlo cathedral. Camilla’s sister Cristina revealed their mother was obsessed with her daughters marrying princes.
As Head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Carlo holds many honours, including Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Saint Januarius, of the Two Sicilian Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and Order of Saint Ferdinand and Merit.
Today Carlo and Camilla are ‘very active in promoting the cultural, artistic, historical, and spiritual identity of southern Italy,’ according to their official website. They split their time between homes in Monte Carlo and Paris.
Camilla is also active in charity work and gives her time tothe Red Cross and UNICEF, as well as the Association Monaco Against Autism, Amiti sans Frontires et la Princess Grace of Monaco Foundation.
She campaigns against animal cruelty and is in charge of her own non-profit organisation, the Camilla of Bourbon Charitable Foundation, which works with the government in Mauritius to preserve its wildlife and promote sustainable development.
The family posing for pictures at the Influencer Awards in Monaco in 2019, with Chiara in a pink gown, Camilla in a grey number and Carolina in a rose gold dress