Princess Carolina, Marchioness of Sala

Princess Maria Carolina Christina of Bourbon-Parma, Marchioness of Sala (born 23 June 1974), is the fourth and youngest child of Princess Irene of the Netherlands and Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma, and is a member of the Royal and Ducal House of Bourbon-Parma, as well as of the Dutch Royal Family.

Princess Carolina
Marchesa of Sala
Carolina (right) coming from school, with her mother Irene and her sister Margarita (1981)
Born (1974-06-23) 23 June 1974
Nijmegen, Netherlands
Albert Brenninkmeijer (m. 2012)
IssueAlaïa-Maria Brenninkmeijer
Xavier Brenninkmeijer
Full name
Maria Carolina Christina
FatherCarlos Hugo, Duke of Parma
MotherPrincess Irene of the Netherlands
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Early life

Princess Carolina was born at 23 June 1974 in Nijmegen. She has two older brothers, Prince Carlos, the head of the House of Bourbon-Parma, and Prince Jaime. She also has one older sister, Princess Margarita. She was baptised at the Castle of Lignières in France with Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Princess Christina of the Netherlands and Princess Maria de las Nieves of Bourbon-Parma as her godparents.

In 1981, when she was six, her parents decided to divorce. She moved together with her mother and her brothers and sister to the Soestdijk Palace (Baarn), the then residence of the former Queen of the Netherlands. They lived at the palace for a number of years with her grandparents, the in 1980 abdicated Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Later on they lived for a while in a villa at Wijk bij Duurstede.

Education and career

Princess Carolina studied political science at University of Amsterdam and Harvard University, and also has an M.Sc. in Forced Migration from the University of Oxford. She has had a career at the United Nations. For this organisation she was stationed at the UN headquarters in New York City, as well as problematic areas such as Eritrea, the Gaza Strip, and in Acheh (Indonesia) after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She is currently employed at the United Nations in Geneva, in the Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).


On 9 January 2012, it was announced Carolina would marry Albert Alphons Ludgerus Brenninkmeijer, (born 16 May 1974), a member of the wealthy Brenninkmeijer family.[1] The civil marriage took place on 21 April 2012 at Wijk bij Duurstede.[2] The church wedding took place at the San Miniato al Monte on 16 June 2012 in Florence, Italy.[3] The couple have two children, a daughter and a son:

Other activities

The princess has been seen regularly at important events of the royal house of the Netherlands. In 2001 she was one of the maids of honor at the wedding of Prince Constantijn and Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst; and during the baptism of their daughter, Countess Eloise of Orange-Nassau, she was the godmother of the child. She was a witness at the church wedding of her cousin Prince Floris of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, and in 2010, was named as the godmother of Floris' second child, Eliane.

Titles, styles and honours

  • 23 June 1973 – 2 September 1996: Her Royal Highness Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma
  • 2 September 1996 – present: Her Royal Highness Princess Carolina, Marchesa of Sala[6]
    • Officially in the Netherlands: 15 May 1996 – present: Her Royal Highness Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme




Already a ducal princess from birth, her father bestowed the substantive title Marchesa di Sala (Marchioness of Sala) upon her on 2 September 1996,.[1] In 1996 she was incorporated into the Dutch Nobility by Queen Beatrix, with the highest title of nobility Prinses de Bourbon de Parme (Princess of Bourbon-Parma)[2] and styled Hare Koninklijke Hoogheid (Her Royal Highness). She does not belong to the House of Orange-Nassau or the limited Dutch Royal House, but as a granddaughter of Queen Juliana and first cousin of the present King Willem-Alexander, she is an official member of the more extended Dutch Royal Family.[3]

  1. Almanach de Gotha (182nd ed.). Almanach de Gotha. 1998. p. 55. ISBN 0953214206.
  2. "The 14th list of nobility determined by royal decree on 9 June 2004 (Stb.307)" (PDF). Website of the High Council of Nobility in the Netherlands
  3. "Members of the Dutch Royal House and the royal family". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Postbus 51 - Website of the Dutch Government Information Service (in Dutch)
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