Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma

Michel of Bourbon-Parma
Born (1926-03-04) 4 March 1926
Spouse Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel
(m. 1951; div. 1999)

Princess Maria Pia of Savoy
(m. 2003)
Issue Princess Inés
Prince Erik
Princess Sybil
Princess Victoire
Prince Charles-Emmanuel
Amélie Bogdanoff
Full name
Michel Marie Xavier Waldemar Georg Robert Karl Eymar
House Bourbon-Parma
Father Prince René of Bourbon-Parma
Mother Princess Margaret of Denmark
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 deposed 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 son of Prince René still living.[1]


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

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]

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

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

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Willis, Daniel. The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain. Clearfield, Baltimore, 2002. pp. 422-425. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 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
  4. BBC News: Allied 'bandits' behind enemy lines
  5. 1 2 3 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
  7. Royal Baptism photos 1999
  8. Paris Match. Françoise de Labarre. Mariage estraterrestre. 13 October 2009. French. Retrieved 2 August 2016.


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