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Headlines      Surrogate Children Of Gay Adopted Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj Win Fortune In Twisted Royal Story
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16 December 2010
Surrogate Children Of Gay Adopted Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj Win Fortune In Twisted Royal Story
There are few other royal stories with more twists, turns and legal battles than this. 
Once upon at time, in 1963 in an English Catholic orphanage a young baby was plucked from poverty and taken to a Palace in Italy.  He was given the title Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj.  
His adopted mother, Princess Orietta, was born into a long line of royals, who can trace their heritage back to the 11 century.  She fought against the fascists during the second world war and won the right to be the first Mayor of Rome.

While Italy may be a republic still many recognize the royal heritage.

In 1958 she met and fell in love with a British Naval Commander and together they adopted Prince Jonathan and later, another English child who would become Princess Gesine.
In 2000 Princess Orietta died, leaving an estimated $1 Billion in her estate. Among the treasure are a 1000 room palazzo in the heart of Rome, countless art works; Titian, Caravaggio and Rubens.
A bitter feud now emerges between the adopted children, Princess Gesine and Prince Jonathon.  
Disregarding Princes Orietta was adopted herself she mounted a legal case against Prince Jonathon’s children being entitled to receive part of the family fortune. 
For the children were born to surrogate mothers who donated eggs so Prince Jonathon and his Brazilian partner Elson Edeno Braga could begin a family.
Yet embedded in the battle is her moral objection to Prince Jonathan’s sexuality for he is gay and she a devout Catholic. 
Princess Orietta raised in court that the children’s biological mothers could claim part of their inheritance.
It’s trace back to who donated sperm, was it Prince Jonathon or his partner?  If it was his partner then given the marriage through a civil ceremony is not officially recognized in Italy, the children would not be entitled to claim part of the estate. 
Yesterday the courts threw out the case, without a paternity test, leaving the Prince, his lover and his children safe for now in their Italian Palace.
Thank you to Judith Harris for sending in the following comment:

Dear cultureclass:

You have made a number of errors in your article, which should be corrected. In order:

late Princess Orietta (known as Donna Orietta) was not born into a
“long line of royals.” They cannot trace the heritage back to the 11th
century. She was, however, a descendant of Admiral Andrea Doria.

Donna Orietta did not fight the Fascists in WWII – her father did, and then he, not she, became the 1st postwar mayor of Rome.

“Recognize the royal heritage?” Socialites in Italy enjoy the title, but it is not technically recognized.

Sentence: “Disregarding Princess Orietta…” well, she is dead. The suit was brought by Gesina, not her late mother.

do you know the estate is worth $1 billion? What makes you think there
is a “moral” objection? Also, are you certain it was an English


Judith Harris, Rome

Prince Jonathon and Princess Gesine


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