Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau: A True Princess
Princess Mable of Orange Nassau was once just Mabel Martine Los, an ordinary girl like you and me, having been born to middle class parents Hendrik Cornelis “Henk” Los and Florence Malde Gijsberdina “Flos” Kooman on 11th August, 1968. Mabel’s passion for her work whilst she working as the executive director of Open Society Institute attracted Prince Friso and the rest as they say is history. But before you write her off as belonging to the conventional Dutch royalty with a fairy tale love story to boot, you might want to peep inside her incredible story.
The tenacity and grace associated with Princess Mabel’s sun sign Leo manifested quite early on when she chose the difficult subjects like political science and economics while studying at the University of Amsterdam and aced both by graduating summa cum laude in the year 1993. As a young girl with a head full of big dreams, she applied for an internship with the United Nations and managed to crack the code to the prestigious institution with her impressive CV of having worked at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ABN AMRO and Shell Bank.
She reminisces about her days there with amazement and a hint of determination, “It was just absolutely fascinating. Whenever I wasn’t committed to something else…I would sit down in the public gallery and listen to it. I absorbed it all.” The flavour of the debates waged in the Security Council was serious to say the least and she remembers walking out with a storm brewing inside her mind. She wasn’t happy being limited in her reach as a management consultant rather desiring nothing more than to “make my tiny contribution to some of these very big international questions. The one thing that I came away with from that internship was the idea that we can all make a difference. Anybody. It doesn’t matter how important you are.”
You must be thinking that the dreams of youth don’t take much time to turn into adult disillusionment, right? Well, not for Princess Mable of Orange Nassau! She moved on from her UN days to play a crucial role in Publish What You Pay, an organisation dedicated to maintaining accountability and transparency in the management of gas, oil and mining revenues. Being always on the lookout for ways to better the world in innovative ways, she also made a significant global contribution towards the setting up of the International Criminal Court.
When the ethical campaign group Elders graced Mabel with the position of CEO in 2008, she wasn’t intimidated by the other celebrated members of the group such as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She acknowledges that rather than being bogged down by those of immense fame and stature, she feels humbled by the passion and drive of those who work at the street level for the cause of justice.
Her ambiguous stand on being a feminist (“You know, I don’t know…I’ve rarely felt constrained by my gender”) didn’t stop her from her school girl dream of performing the philanthropic duties of a missionary in the guise of founding the Girls Not Brides organisation, the goals of which the website sums up brilliantly, “Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 600 civil society organisations from over 80 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential.” The success of Girls Not Brides can be attributed to Mabel’s quiet presence, which ensures that agendas and protests are backed up with remedial actions at the grass root level.
Mabel showed the world her rebel streak when she opted for the unconventional Victor & Rolf silk wedding gown and her capacity to think outside the box has been elucidated in her career endeavours henceforth. Watch out for it’s time to include Princess Mable of Orange Nassau to your list of The Greatest Women Icons of the 21st century!
Image Copyrights: By RVD, Jeroen van der Meyde – http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/foto-en-video/portretfotos/koninklijke-familie, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46836147
Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en