Princess Caroline of Monaco’s estranged husband Prince Ernst of Hanover, 67, finds love

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Prince Ernst of Hanover, the estranged husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, has found love with a woman 20 years younger, it turns out.

Ernst, 67, a distant cousin of the Queen, has been spotted in Madrid with Spanish-born artist Claudia Stilianopoulos, 48, whose parents were friends with Princess Margaret.

The couple reportedly met in Ibiza in July and have become very close. Some European news websites even suggest that a marriage is on the way.

Ernst married Princess Caroline, sister of Prince Albert II and daughter of Prince Rainier III, in 1999 and shares daughter Princess Alexandra, 22. They separated in 2009 but never divorced.

Royal romance: Prince Ernst of Hanover has been spotted in Madrid with artist Claudia Stilianopoulos, whose parents were friends with Princess Margaret

Sealed with a kiss: Ernst and Claudia shared a kiss outside a supermarket in Madrid in October

Sealed with a kiss: Ernst and Claudia shared a kiss outside a supermarket in Madrid in October

Married in Monaco: Ernst married Princess Caroline in 1999, sister of Prince Albert II of Monaco and daughter of Prince Rainier III.  Pictured, the couple at an event in 2000

Married in Monaco: Ernst married Princess Caroline in 1999, sister of Prince Albert II of Monaco and daughter of Prince Rainier III. Pictured, the couple at an event in 2000

The royal, who is embroiled in a legal battle with his son, Ernst Jr, has dated a number of women in the years since, including the glamorous Portuguese socialite Countess Maria Madalena Bensaude.

But “no one has promised as much” as his blossoming relationship with Claudia, according to Hola!, the Spanish version of glossy magazine Hello!.

Mother of two Claudia is an artist known for her architectural sculptures.

Her parents were José Manuel Stilianopoulos y Estela, known as Mike Stilianopoulos, a Philippine ambassador to Britain in the late 1970s, and Spanish socialite Esperanza Ridruejo, known as Pitita.

The couple befriended Princess Margaret and in 1979, shortly after her divorce from Anthony Armstrong-Jones, offered her the use of their villa in Marbella, Spain, to stay with then-boyfriend Roddy Llewellyn.

Mike and Pitita, as they were known, settled in Madrid and became fixtures on the Spanish social scene. Mike died in 2016, his wife in 2019.

Spanish Socialites: Claudia's parents were José Manuel Stilianopoulos y Estela, known as Mike Stilianopoulos, a Philippine ambassador to Britain in the late 1970s, and Spanish socialite Esperanza Ridruejo, known as Pitita.  Pictured, the couple in Madrid in 2012

Spanish Socialites: Claudia’s parents were José Manuel Stilianopoulos y Estela, known as Mike Stilianopoulos, a Philippine ambassador to Britain in the late 1970s, and Spanish socialite Esperanza Ridruejo, known as Pitita. Pictured, the couple in Madrid in 2012

Royal connections: Mike and Pitita befriended Princess Margaret and in 1979, shortly after her divorce from Anthony Armstrong-Jones, offered her the use of their villa in Marbella, Spain, to stay with then-boyfriend Roddy Llewellyn.  Pictured, Margaret and Roddy together in 1978

Royal connections: Mike and Pitita befriended Princess Margaret and in 1979, shortly after her divorce from Anthony Armstrong-Jones, offered her the use of their villa in Marbella, Spain, to stay with then-boyfriend Roddy Llewellyn. Pictured, Margaret and Roddy together in 1978

A modest figure, Claudia remains largely out of the limelight, although she has received media attention in recent months thanks to her relationship with Ernst.

The couple has been spotted going on holiday together, dining at upscale eateries in Madrid.

Ernst, the great-grandson of Emperor William II, was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence in Austria earlier this year for intoxicating a police officer and threatening another with a baseball bat.

He was also ordered by the court to find another home in Austria and to undergo psychotherapy.

His lawyers explained at the trial that he had been under treatment since the incidents, which they say took place while he was “isolated and betrayed by his own son for years.”

Blossoming romance: Claudia is a modest figure and remains largely out of the limelight, although she has received media attention in recent months thanks to her relationship with Ernst, above

Blossoming romance: Claudia is a modest figure and remains largely out of the limelight, although she has received media attention in recent months thanks to her relationship with Ernst, above

Ancient Royal Lineage: Who Are the Hanoverians?

The Hanoverians trace their lineage to the Welfs, also known as the Welfs, who were once one of the most important medieval dynasties in Europe.

They ruled over large parts of what became southern Germany and northern Italy, including Tuscany, Bavaria, and Saxony.

Later they were the electors and kings of Hanover, ruling Great Britain and Ireland from the time George I ascended the throne in 1714 until the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1837, after which personal union with the United Kingdom ended.

In 1866 they lost their last German royal title, but retained a large portfolio of properties, the most famous of which was the 135-room Marienburg Castle near Hanover, built in 1867, under their management.

The castle was built between 1858 and 1867 as a birthday present by King George V of Hanover (reigned 1851-1866) to his wife, Marie of Saxe-Altenburg.

It has been compared to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, which was built two years later in 1869 and which famously served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Hey! reports that the instructions have since been withdrawn.

Ernst, the head of a German dynasty from one of Europe’s largest aristocratic families, has been in conflict for years with his “ungrateful” son, who he suspects wants to squander family property in Germany, especially land and forests in Lower Saxony.

At the end of last year, he filed a lawsuit in a court in Hanover, Germany, to get back the Marienburg Castle, which has become a tourist attraction.

Prince Ernst accused his son of “going behind his back” in court papers filed this week.

In the mid-2000s, he had handed over Marienburg Castle and the adjacent Calenburg Estate to his son – also called Ernst August.

The Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneberg then thrashed the land and announced in 2018 that Marienburg would be sold to the government for a small fee.

This was perhaps more economical than benevolent: the castle required renovations estimated at over £23 million and had cost a fortune to stay open to 200,000 visitors each year.

The younger Ernst said it marked a “historic turning point” for the family and would help preserve the Gothic palace for the public.

The Bundestag – Germany’s federal parliament – has already voted in favor of a £12 million contribution to the renovations, while about 100 paintings and other artefacts from the castle have been handed over to Hanover’s state museum.

These were worth a total of £2 million, with a further £5 million in treasures being donated to an art foundation.

The feuding Ernst August Sr and Ernst August Jr were set to appear in court on November 25, but the hearing was adjourned until March next year.

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