13 OCTOBER 2003
The Netherlands' Prince Johan Friso has effectively renounced his claim to the throne after a scandal erupted over his fiancée's reported links with a murdered mafia boss.

Mabel Wisse Smit is alleged to have had a relationship with crime kingpin Klaas Bruinsma, who died in a gangland shooting in 1991. The 35-year-old denies she was intimately involved with the underworld boss, but admits to spending nights on his boat. As a result Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says she and Prince Johan gave him "incomplete and incorrect" information about her past.

And the prime minister has announced he will not submit the couple's marriage to parliament for approval. This means Prince Johan will lose his right to become king when he weds Mabel on April 24 next year. He and his fiancée, who is a highly-regarded human rights campaigner, have admitted to misleading the politician.

The prince was next in line to the throne after his brother Willem-Alexander. The crown prince and his Argentine wife Maxima Zorreguieta are expecting their first child, who will be second in line, in January.

Prince Johan plans to marry Mabel on April 24 regardless of the controversy
Photo: © PA
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Willem-Alexander, Maxima Zorreguieta, Mabel Wisse Smit, johan friso

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