A Monte Carlo socialite and princess has lost an appeal against a £2m fine and warned she faces prison in the latest twist in a decade-long battle over a £100m family trust fund.
Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles was ordered to pay the fine after being found guilty of contempt for refusing to reveal the location of her film star mum’s fortune.
The windfall – including a £50million Gauguin painting – was part of a trust fund set up by Italian movie star Edoarda Crociani for her two daughters – Cristiana and Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles.
But when £100m of investments and art was taken from the fund in 2010 and transferred into Edoarda’s name, Cristiana feared the cash was being given to her sister.
She then began legal proceedings claiming that steps were being taken to block her from inheriting the family’s estate.
Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles (second from left) was ordered to pay the fine after being found guilty of contempt for refusing to reveal the location of her film star mother’s fortune (right, Edoarda Crociani)
When £100m of investments and art was taken from a trust fund for Princess Camilla and her sister Cristiana (right) in 2010 and transferred into Edoarda’s (left) name, Cristiana feared the cash was being given to her sister
Details of the feud emerged when Princess Camilla was ordered to pay a £2m fine by the Royal Court on Jersey which ruled she had ignored a court order.
Her appeal has now been rejected and she has been given two months to pay the £2m fine and warned she faces a 12-month prison sentence if she fails to do so.
Princess Camilla had lodged an appeal against the fine, which was issued on 22 December, by claiming that she ‘does not have immediate access to £2 million’.
She requested an ‘application of stay’ – a suspension of proceedings – in relation to the order.
But in rejecting her appeal, the court, pointed out that the princess had been aware for some time that a heavy fine was a possibility.
In a recently published judgement, the Court of Appeal said: ‘She has known since 25 February 2020 that the court was considering the imposition of a substantial fine.
‘She has known the exact amount of the fine since 22 December 2020.
The dispute began in 2011, when Cristiana (pictured with Prince Albert II of Monaco) began legal proceedings claiming that steps were being taken to block her from inheriting the family’s wealth
Lawyers outlined that Princess Camilla lived an expensive lifestyle, highlighting photos taken with President Donald Trump at his Florida home Mar-a-Lago
‘In the circumstances, she has had every opportunity to provide evidence regarding her financial resources, both revenue and capital, both liquid and illiquid.’
In the document, the court adds that it believed that the timescale to pay the fine, as well as the cost of compensating more than £200,000 of BNP’s legal costs, was ‘entirely reasonable’.
Jonathan Crow QC, Lord Anderson of Ipswich QC and David Perry QC were sitting.
The legal battle between the family has dragged on for a decade, with the Jersey-based trustees, BNP, and Edoarda instructed by the Royal Court to reconstruct the trust, known as the Grand Trust.
The Royal Court found Princess Camilla in contempt last year for refusing to disclose details of her mother’s wealth and assets.
Jersey’s Royal Court then ordered Edoarda and bank BNP Jersey, who were both trustees, to rebuild the trust fund, and told Princess Camilla to disclose details of her mother’s wealth.
At a previous hearing Princess Camilla refused to disclose the location of items, including the painting – and was warned she faces a fine of ‘millions’.
Advocate William Redgrave, acting on behalf of BNP, outlined that an example of assets not submitted was expensive jewellery owned by Edoarda.
Princess Camilla Crociani in 2010, left, and her mother Edoarda, right, in 2003
Princess Camilla married Prince Carlo – head of the Italian House of Bourbon des Deux Siciles in a ceremony described by The Times as the ‘blue-blood wedding of the decade’
He said: ‘She had not mentioned that her mother had valuable jewellery in her mother’s affidavit. There was no de minimis limit [minimum threshold] in the court order.’
Mr Redgrave outlined that Princess Camilla lived an expensive lifestyle, highlighting photos taken with President Donald Trump at his Florida home.
The princess also appeared on the TV documentary ‘Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich’.
Advocate Olaf Blakeley, acting on behalf of the princess, maintained the position that she did not know the location of many of her mother’s assets and had submitted items ‘highlighted’ as a priority.
He said: ‘It would be quite wrong to say she failed to purge her contempt of court if she did not provide documents that are not in her power or possession.
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‘It is my submission the vast majority of documents that were requested were provided by Princess Camilla and all those highlighted were provided.’
Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith was sceptical that the princess was revealing everything she knew.
He said: ‘We have had not received any information about the Croci Group [the family business] or on Mdme [Edoarda] Crociani’s non-voting shares in the group.
‘The court believed [at the last hearing] that she knows where the Gauguin is. The way to purge the contempt is to tell us. And she has not done that.’
The dispute began in 2011, when Cristiana began legal proceedings claiming that steps were being taken to block her from inheriting the family’s wealth.
The funds had been placed in a trust called the Grand Trust by Edoarda, then later removed.
In 2017, the Royal Court ordered that the fund, which included valuable artwork, including a Gauguin painting insured for £49.9m, should be rebuilt.
Princess Camilla was ordered to disclose details of her mother’s wealth to BNP, but the bank and the court have not been satisfied with numerous submissions she has made using affidavits.
It has previously been claimed that Edoarda trapped her daughters in a ‘golden hell’, and was obsessed with them marrying into royalty.
Cristiana said that her mother pressured her into marrying Italian Prince Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi – a relationship that lasted only four months.
She further claims that her mother refused to allow her to marry French entrepreneur Nicolas Delrieu.
The following year, Princess Camilla married Prince Carlo – head of the Italian House of Bourbon des Deux Siciles in a ceremony described by The Times as the ‘blue-blood wedding of the decade’.
The Royal Court heard how Cristiana said her mother had a fear of being alone, and controlled her family through money.
She acknowledged that they led an extremely glamorous and luxurious lifestyle, but described it as ‘a golden hell’ because she had no independence or private life.
She claimed she was told not to turn up for family events, but her mother said she ‘disappeared’.
Who are the ancient royal family of Bourbon-Two Sicilies?
The last King of Two Sicilies was Francis II, who was overthrown in 1860 and spent the remainder of his life in exile
The Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies – or Bourbon des Deux Siciles – is an ancient branch of the Spanish royal family which ruled parts of southern Italy for more than 100 years from 1734 to 1861. Its descendants still carry the name today, some 150 years later.
The line descends from Philippe de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France (1638–1715), who established the Bourbon dynasty in Spain in 1700 as Philip V (1683–1746).
In 1759 King Philip’s younger grandson was appanaged with the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, becoming Ferdinand IV and III (1751–1825), respectively, of those realms. His descendants occupied the joint throne (renamed ‘Kingdom of the Two Sicilies’ in 1816) until 1860.
The family, then led by Francis II, was overthrown in 1860 by Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi, who proclaimed a dictatorship on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II, the the King of Piedmont-Sardinia and later King of Italy. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Kingdom of Sardinia were merged into the newly formed Kingdom of Italy.
The deposed Francis II and his wife spent time in Rome as guests of the Pope where they ran a government in exile. They left the city before it was occupied by the Italians in 1870.
They led a wandering life from then on, living in Austria, France, and Bavaria.
Francis II died in 1894 and was succeeded by his half-brother, Prince Alfonso, who was in turn succeeded by his son, Prince Ferdinand Pius, Duke of Calabria.
Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, 57 and Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro, 49 with their daughters Princess Maria Carolina, 17 and Maria Chiara Di Bourbon-Two Sicilies, 15
The succession has been disputed since Ferdinand’s death in 1960 because he had six daughters and no sons to carry the family line. Both his nephew Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, and brother Prince Ranieri, pictured, Duke of Castro, laid claim to the throne. This feud continues between their descendants today
The succession has been disputed since Ferdinand’s death in 1960 because he had six daughters and no sons to carry the family line.
Both his nephew Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, and brother Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro, laid claim to the throne. This feud continues between their descendants today.
Chiara and Carolina are the daughters of Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, grandson of Prince Ranieri. The claimant on the other side of the family is Prince Pedro, Duke of Calabria, grandson of Infante Alfonso.
Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, grandson of Prince Ranieri, and his wife Camilla
Prince Carlo, who only has two daughters, has overturned centuries of male primogeniture and has stated his title will pass to his eldest daughter, Carolina.
Prince Carlo married his wife Camilla, daughter of Italian film star Edoarda Crociani, better known as Edy Vessel, in 1998 at Monte Carlo cathedral. Camilla’s sister Cristina revealed their mother was obsessed with her daughters marrying princes.
As Head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Carlo holds many honours, including Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Saint Januarius, of the Two Sicilian Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and Order of Saint Ferdinand and Merit.
Today Carlo and Camilla are ‘very active in promoting the cultural, artistic, historical, and spiritual identity of southern Italy,’ according to their official website. They split their time between homes in Monte Carlo and Paris.
Camilla is also active in charity work and gives her time to the Red Cross and UNICEF, as well as the Association Monaco Against Autism, Amitié sans Frontières et la Princess Grace of Monaco Foundation.
She campaigns against animal cruelty and is in charge of her own non-profit organisation, the Camilla of Bourbon Charitable Foundation, which works with the government in Mauritius to preserve its wildlife and promote sustainable development.
The family posing for pictures at the Influencer Awards in Monaco in 2019, with Chiara in a pink gown, Camilla in a grey number and Carolina in a rose gold dress