Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Eighty-Fifth Birthday of Princess Cecilie of Bourbon-Parma, Aunt of the Duke of Parma

Princess Cécile of Bourbon-Parma

On 12 April 1935, Princess Cécile Marie Antoinette Madeleine Jeanne Agnès Françoise of Bourbon-Parma was born at Paris. The princess was the fourth child and third daughter of Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma and Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset. Cécile joined two older sisters and an older brother: Françoise (b.1928), Carlos Hugo (1930-2010), and Marie-Thérèse (1933-2020). The princess was followed by two younger siblings: Marie-des-Neiges (b.1937) and Sixte-Henri (b.1940). Cécile studied in Paris and Munich. She eventually obtained her pilot's license.

1955: Princess Cécile at her first ball at the Ritz in Paris.
Photograph (c) Getty Images / Francois Pages

Between 1968-1970, Princess Cécile participated in humanitarian efforts to bring supplies to the inhabitants of Biafra. The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived nation in West Africa, a "break-away" region in Nigeria, that existed from May 1967 to January 1970. In 1969, most of Cécile's family was expelled from Spain due their Carlist ties: only the princess (owing to her charity work in Biafra) and her sister-in-law Princess Irene of the Netherlands were excluded from the order. In early 1970, Cécile was in Washington, DC, to lobby on behalf to the people of Biafra. She stated: "The need is so great. So many people are dying in terrible conditions. In two weeks it will be too late." In 1971, the princess was finally ordered to leave Spain due to her connections with the Carlist movement. From Madrid, Cécile was put on a flight to Paris, where she arrived aboard an Iberian Airlines plane, to which she had been escorted by plainclothes Spanish policemen.

(left to right): Princess Marie-des-Neiges, Princess Marie-Thérèse, and Princess Cécile of Bourbon-Parma.
Photographed at the christening of their grand-nephew Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma in 2016.
Photograph (c) PPE / Albert Nieboer

Thereafter, the princess made her home in the French capital. Recently, for some years, she had been living with her sisters Marie-Thérèse and Marie-des-Neiges. In 2014, Cécile was named as a godmother of her grand-niece Princess Cecilia of Bourbon-Parma (b.2013), the daughter of Duke Carlos and Duchess Annemarie of Parma. In 2016, the princess and her two closest sisters attended the christening of their grand-nephew Carlos, the eventual heir to the Ducal House of Parma.

Princess Cécile of Bourbon-Parma with Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark

Last month, Cécile lost her sister Marie-Thérèse to complications from the coronavirus. Maria Teresa, as she was known in Carlist circles, had come down with COVID-19 from interactions with the nurse who was looking after Marie-Thérèse, Cécile, and Marie-des-Neiges. Along with her sisters Françoise and Marie-des-Neiges, Cécile is among the last surviving children of Duke Xavier of Parma.

Princess Cécile at a Carlist event.

We wish Princess Cécile many happy returns and the best of health!

Duke Xavier and Duchess Madeleine of Parma with their sons and three youngest daughters.

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