The members of royal families who reach a tall age without having passed through the altar are very unique. Things have not changed much in this respect to past times. Bear in mind that the almost main obligation of any member of a dynasty is to marry and have offspring that continue to renew blue blood and ultimately prevent its extinction. Few princes and princesses of marriageable age have been allowed in history to remain single. There have been some rare bird in every age, of course. But the least. Not even the homosexual royals could avoid the trance of having to marry for reasons of state or lineage.
So something worthwhile has that some princes and kings have endured carts and wagons so that the dates of Valentine’s Day did not touch them. In Spain, we are well aware of the case of Princess Irene of Greece (78). The sister of Queen Sofía has ended up given body and soul to something very close to religious vows, in this case, to act as an inseparable companion and cloth of tears of the mother of Felipe VI.
Discretion has been the dominant note in Irene of Greece’s life. And she has achieved that, for sure, practically nothing is known about her sentimental life, which, however, would have been quite hectic if the rumors that she has not been able to get rid of are true. “I have been in love, naturally, but I do not want to tell any love story that I have lived by discretion,” she declared some years ago on the occasion of the presentation of a biographical book about her figure.
Without any official confirmation, Dona Sofia’s sister was linked in the past with a good number of candidates. Prince Michael of Orleans – who would marry Beatriz de Orleans, in 1967, and from whom he divorced in 2012, Jesus Aguirre, who would have flirted with her before his surprising relationship and marriage with Cayetana, Duchess of Alba; Gonzalo de Borbon, brother of the Duke of Cadiz, and even Guido Brunner, who was the German ambassador to Spain. Regarding Aguirre, who would become Duke of Alba, it is said that Don Juan Carlos would have stopped him in his tracks in his pretensions of hanging around his sister-in-law, saying, “One thing, Jesus. Irene is a forbidden garden for you.”
In the same field of rumors, for a long time, it was also said that Zarzuela put an end to Irene de Grecia’s illusion by marrying the man with whom she would have fallen madly in love a holy man from India whom she met during the years they lived together with his mother, Queen Federica, in an ashram in Kanchipuram -in the state of Tamil Nadu-, dedicated to the study of Advaita philosophy, one of the most ancient currents of thought in the Hindu country. Of the guru for whom the princess would have felt the crush it was written that he was an extremely handsome, athletic man, very cultured – he would have been trained in Oxford – but with credentials that a few decades ago would have been a scandal for the monarchy that was trying shore up in Spain.
NORODOM SIHAMONI, KING OF CAMBODIA
Another inveterate bachelor in world royalty is Norodom Sihamoni (67), the King of Cambodia who never wanted to wear the crown. The fact that a reigning monarch has no offspring brings with it some political complications that sometimes make quiet dynastic successions difficult. The throne truncated the career of a dancer, of a sensitive and highly cultured lover of the arts, who would have given half his life to be able to change the palace intrigues and the political pulse to continue wearing his dance shoes. The Cambodian monarch has always been haunted by rumors of alleged homosexuality. Shortly after being crowned, the queen mother was asked if she saw a wedding of the sovereign nearby. Monineath replied in surprise, “Wife my son? But he only feels Buddhist. He loves women like sisters.”
In nearby Thailand, another princess who has already stayed to dress saints – horrible expression, admittedly – is Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (65). The sister of the eccentric King Rama X is the most popular member of the dynasty of the ancient kingdom of Siam. Unlike the sovereign, she has always fled scandals to faithfully follow in the footsteps of her father, the revered Bhumibol, and has managed to maintain an image of simplicity that contrasts with the pomposity of the Court. Many Thais, probably the majority, preferred to see her on the throne rather than her brother, who threatens to take over the monarchy, until now such a respected institution.
The Middle East also counted among its monarchs until recently another inveterate bachelor, Sultan Qabús bin Said of Oman, who died in January last year at the age of 79. Little was ever known of his intimate life. He did not marry or have children. For this reason, at his death, he was succeeded by the current sultan, his brother Haizam bin Tariq al Said. With him, many things have begun to change in the Omani Court. Among them, that for the first time the country has a crown prince, his son Theyazin Bin Haitham, recently appointed as successor to the throne.
Finally, and going back to Europe, who is going to pass the rice is Wenceslao of Liechtenstein, nephew of the head of state of the tiny principality Hans Adam II, who is already in his fifties. Nor is much known about his intimate life, although the son of Prince Felipe Erasmo, who runs one of the main financial entities in the country, had a dreamed affair years ago with the Brazilian top model Adriana Lima. All of them, like all of them, will have a new opportunity this February 14 that some Cupid’s arrow pierces their hearts. Or not, nothing happens to remain unpaired.