Royal drama is infinitely more exciting when it involves the kind of outlandish names that make you say, “Pardon?” This is, I assume, why Prince Harry made up all those names for his friends (and penis) in his memoir; why we will never forget the stories about Prince William and a certain Marchioness of Cholmondeley, nor the “Prince of Pegging” nickname those rumors might have inspired. It’s also why I’m thoroughly compelled by new gossip surrounding Prince Christian of Denmark, the 17-year-old grandson of the country’s Queen Margrethe. Christian — a snooze of a name if I’ve ever heard one — may possibly be dating fellow teen royal, Princess Maria Chiara di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, duchess of Noto and Capri. Can you believe someone is actually called this? I am astonished, elated, and hungry all at the same time.
Whispers about Christian and Princess Maria Chiara di Bourbon-Two Sicilies (Chiara for short) first emerged in May when they were photographed standing together at the Monaco Grand Prix. Three months later, a new interview from Chiara has rekindled speculation about the nature of their relationship: According to the Daily Mail, she told the Italian outlet Corriere that she “hopes to meet Queen Margrethe soon,” and further, that she and the prince have “known each other since [they] were little.” Though there’s not much evidence of anything romantic going on between them, she did describe their relationship as “very special,” at least per the Mail’s translation. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reports that the prince and princess were recently seen enjoying ice creams together in St. Tropez — make of that what you will.
But whether or not Chiara is dating the future king of Denmark is frankly beside the point, because we are here to talk about her name and also her lifestyle, which appears to consist of jet-setting around the French Riviera and posting impeccably sun-kissed photos of her expensive outfits on Instagram. Right now, she and her 19-year-old sister — Princess Maria Carolina di Bourbon-Two Sicilies — are bopping around the French Riviera wearing athleisure with heels and hanging out near as many pools as they can.
Of course, for every night spent at a $3,000 hotel, a royal must commit to at least one (1) act of philanthropy, and Chiara has had many of both — per her Instagram bio, she’s a World Wildlife Fund ambassador for France and Italy. Balance, baby!
How exactly does a name like Princess Maria Chiara di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duchess of Noto and Capri, come to be? While her family history is even longer than her title, here is an abbreviated recap: The House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies is a branch of the Spanish Bourbons, who are themselves an offshoot of the French-originating Bourbon dynasty. The Bourbon-Two Sicilies are descended from a younger sibling of the Spanish rulers, who was given control over Naples and Sicily in the 18th century. His family ruled over the area for over 100 years until they were dethroned during the Savoy-led unification of Italy. Speaking of: The authentic version of her last name, per Chiara’s Instagram bio, is actually di Borbone delle Due Sicilie, which means “of Bourbon Two-Sicilies” in Italian. Truly, there is nothing more glamorous than a name that requires both a map of Italy and a Rosetta Stone subscription to decode.
Right now, two feuding dukes claim to be the rightful leaders of the house: Chiara’s father Prince Carlo, who should inherit the “throne” but has no sons, and his cousin Prince Pedro, who has a son and therefore is technically entitled to the “throne” instead. None of this is especially pertinent to Chiara, who, as the younger sibling, stands pretty far down the di Bourbon-Two Sicilies ladder of succession. Her family also holds a lot less esteem in the royal milieu than Christian’s, considering he’s the direct descendant of an active queen. (Even if Italy still had a monarchy, Chiara’s family would be a tangential twig on a 300-year-old royal tree.) Further complicating their pedigree, Chiara’s mother — Princess Camilla; no relation to this petty queen — has been locked in a £100 million lawsuit with her sister for over a decade and was semi-recently fined £2 million in a Jersey court over artwork she allegedly took from their mother’s estate and hid.
For all these reasons, the Daily Mail all but accused the di Bourbon-Two Sicilies of social climbing their way to higher status. To be fair, Chiara does seem to have spent a lot of her interview talking about how connected to the other royals she is — she stressed that she and Christian have “known each other since we were little,” mentioned being “very close to the heir” to the Spanish throne, and also added that “one of my best friends is Alexandra of Hanover, Carolina of Monaco’s youngest daughter.”
Royalty or not, Chiara has certainly dethroned Guccio Gucci for the title of Most Gorgeous Italian Name. I’d take that over a silly little dukedom any day.