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Prince Michel
Personal details
Born 4 March 1926(1926-03-04) (age 95)
Spouse(s) Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel
(m. 1951–99)

Princess Maria Pia of Savoy
(m. 2003)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma (Michel Marie Xavier Waldemar Georg Robert Karl Eymar; born 4 March 1926, Paris, France) is a decorated former soldier, racing car driver, French businessman and dynast of the sovereign ducal House of Bourbon-Parma.

He is a son of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma (1894–1962) and his wife Princess Margaret of Denmark (1895–1992). Paternally, he is a grandson of Robert I, Duke of Parma (1848–1907), while through his mother he is a great-grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark (1818–1906). Prince Michel was also the younger brother of Queen Anne of Romania (1923-2016), and since August 2016 he is the only child of Prince René still living.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Prince Michel grew up in Paris, where his father worked for a propane gas tank manufacturer. In 1940, Prince Michel and his family fled the German invasion and left for New York,[2] where his mother worked in a hat shop. Michel was enrolled in a Jesuit school in Montreal.[3]

Three years later at age 17 he joined the U.S. Army with his father's permission and was appointed lieutenant.[2] Serving in Operation Jedburgh, he was parachuted into Nazi-occupied France as part of a three-man sabotage team (with Maj. Tommy Macpherson and Sgt O. A. Brown) to operate deep behind German lines.[4]

After the liberation of France Prince Michel was deployed to Indochina in order to fight against the Viet Minh.[2] Dropped on August 28, 1945, by parachute he was captured the same day by the Vietnamese resistance, who kept him in captivity for 11 months, during which his group of six captives attempted several escapes, only to be recaptured.[2] They were led from camp to camp through the dense jungle, bound together with strips of bamboo. Each lived on a bowl of rice a day. Toward the end of the ordeal, the men were asked to sign statements saying that they had been well treated, which they refused. Four of them were killed before the two survivors finally made it back to France due to the French negotiating a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh at the Geneva Conference. Prince Michel was one of only 3000 prisoners to survive of the 12,000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh. A chevalier of France's Legion of Honour, for his services during war, he was also awarded the British Military Cross and the Croix de guerre.[5]

Demobilized at the age of 20 the prince became a race car driver, participating in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1964 [6] and 1966. Both times his car failed to finish. In 1964 he also raced in the Tour de France where he finished second. At the Monaco Grand Prix in 1967, he was a nearby spectator when the Lorenzo Bandini accident occurred: With the help of a marshal he managed to extract the driver from the burning wreck of his Ferrari.

Prince Michel started civilian life at the age of 20, engaging in business over the following decades. He worked for a company that had created the Zodiac inflatable rubber boat, which enjoyed huge commercial success after the war. Later, he went on to negotiate contracts for French companies with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, until he was deposed in the Islamic revolution of 1979. Today he lives between his house in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and his house in Palm Beach, Florida.

Marriage and children[edit | edit source]

Following a civil wedding in Paris on 23 May 1951, on 9 June 1951, the thirtieth anniversary of his parents' wedding, he married religiously at Chaillot, Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel (1928–2014), daughter of Prince Joseph de Broglie-Revel (1892–1963) and his wife, Marguerite de La Cour de Balleroy (1901-1976).[1][2]

Although the couple separated legally on 26 June 1966 and reconciled 19 December 1983,[5] the marriage ended in divorce in 1999.[2] They had five children together:[2]

  • Princess Inès of Bourbon-Parma (9 May 1952 – 20 October 1981). She had a daughter out-of-wedlock;
    • Marie Mélodie de Bourbon (born Geneva, 4 June 1977). Adopted by her grandfather, Prince Michel, 20 November 1982).[1]
  • Prince Erik of Bourbon-Parma (born 28 August 1953 in Copenhagen), married in Ledreborg, Denmark on 8 August 1980 Countess Lydia af Holstein-Ledreborg (born 22 February 1955), daughter of Princess Marie Gabriele of Luxembourg, divorced in 1999. They had five children:[1]
    • Princess Antonia of Bourbon-Parma (born Roskilde, 10 June 1981)
    • Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bourbon-Parma (born Paris, 23 December 1982)
    • Princess Alexia of Bourbon-Parma (born Palm Beach, Florida, 7 March 1985)
    • Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma (born Roskilde, 12 February 1989)
    • Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma (born Roskilde, 14 October 1991)
  • Princess Sybil of Bourbon-Parma (born Paris, 10 November 1954), married in 1997 Craig Richards.
  • Princess Victoire of Bourbon-Parma (8 November 1957 – 2001), who married on 26 February 1974 in Beaumont-le-Roger and divorcing before 1988, Baron Ernst von Gecmen-Waldek (born Prague, 11 July 1943) before remarrying in 1993, with Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez. She had two children with Baron Ernst:[1]
    • Baroness Tatiana von Gecmen-Waldek (born 22 June 1974), married Michael Berger-Sandhofer in September 1995 in Versailles.
    • Baron Vincent Nicholas von Gecmen-Waldek (born 30 August 1981)
  • Prince Charles-Emmanuel of Bourbon-Parma (born Paris, 3 June 1961), who married on 25 May 1991, Constance de Ravinel (born Paris, 18 July 1971), daughter of Yves, Baron de Ravinel and his wife, Alix de Castellane-Esperron (of the Duque de Almazàn de Saint-Priest).[5] They have four children:[1]
    • Prince Amaury of Bourbon-Parma (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 30 October 1991)
    • Princess Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 18 July 1993)
    • Princess Elizabeth of Bourbon-Parma (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 12 June 1996)
    • Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parme (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 1 April 1999) Her godparents are Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou, and Comtesse Bernard de Castellane {née Lady Charlotte-Anne Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of John Scott, 9th Duke of Buccleuch).[7]

Prince Michel had a daughter out-of-wedlock with Laure Le Bourgeois (born 1950):

  • Amélie Le Bourgeois (legally adopted, on 5 June 1997, assuming the surname) "de Bourbon de Parme" (born 13 March 1977),[1] who married in 2009 Igor Bogdanoff (born 29 August 1949), grandson of Roland Hayes.[8] They have issue, Alexandre Bogdanoff, born in 2011 and Constantin, born in 2014.

In 2003, Prince Michel remarried in Manalapan, Florida, to Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (born 1934), daughter of King Umberto II of Italy (1904–1983) and of Princess Marie José of Belgium (1906–2001), previously wife of Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia.

External links[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Willis, Daniel. The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain. Clearfield, Baltimore, 2002. pp. 422-425. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. ‘’Le Petit Gotha’’. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, pp. 594-595. (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  3. Prince Michel profile; Palm Beach Daily News http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/french-born-prince-and-part-time-palm-beacher-mich/nMC5Y/
  4. BBC News: Allied 'bandits' behind enemy lines http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8085383.stm
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. p. 418. (French). ISBN 2-908003-04-X
  6. Ford Anglia 105E - 1964 Monte Carlo Rally Report http://anglia-models.co.uk/race-1964-montewu.htm
  7. Royal Baptism photos 1999 http://www.angelfire.com/de/verenasroyalty/Baptism1999.html
  8. Paris Match. Françoise de Labarre. Mariage estraterrestre. 13 October 2009. French. Retrieved 2 August 2016.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • (French) Michel de Bourbon, En parachute, Presses de la Cité, 1949 ASIN B0000DPIAZ
  • (Danish) Michel de Bourbon, Faldskaermsjaeger : Fra den franske maquis til Indo-Kinas jungle, Hasselbalch, 1949
  • (French) Michel de Bourbon-Parme et Jean-Louis Tremblay, Un prince dans la tourmente, Nimrod, 2010 ISBN 291524328X

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