A socialite Italian princess, whose diary boasts hang-outs with political and pop royalty, has been found in “serious” contempt of Jersey’s Royal Court after failing to disclose the whereabouts of a painting by a post-Impressionist artist.
Camilla Crociani - whose title became Princess de Bourbon de Deux Siciles following her marriage to Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro - was previously found to have directed family wealth worth millions away from her sister with the help of her former filmstar mother, Edoarda.
The case played out in Jersey’s Royal Court over a number of years, and saw Princess Camilla’s sister, Cristiana, tell of how she had grown up in what she described as a “golden hell” before being shunned by her mother for failing to marry into royalty.
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The dispute resulted in a landmark judgment in 2017, ordering that a $200million trust – including assets such as properties and paintings by famous artists – be reconstituted so that Cristiana could once again benefit.
But the process has been far from simple.
Princess Camilla has since been the plaintiff and subject of numerous Jersey Royal Court judgments – including a failed bid to oust the presiding judge, Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, who was accused of “bias” – the majority of which have attempted to extract information from her about the family’s assets.
In the latest chapter in the long-running feud, the Commissioner had to consider whether the socialite princess – whose Instagram profile includes pictures with the likes of Donald Trump, Samuel L Jackson and Lionel Ritchie – had been acting in contempt of court.
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After numerous attempts to get the Princess to disclose information about the Crociani family’s art collection, which is worth millions, the Royal Court said that she had only cooperated by giving the location of those that had already been tracked down.
According to evidence given by an employee of BNP Paribas, which was ordered to reconstitute the trust after being found to have helped Madame Crociani move assets away from Cristiana, “there are still another 11 artworks which have not been located, including what we understand to be the most famous and valuable work owned by Mme Crociani, namely the Hina Maruru by [Paul] Gauguin".
The latter is a rare and famous oil on canvas image of Tahitian idol Hina by the post-Impressionist painter, who is known for his experimental use of colour, depicting a darker period of work inspired by visits to French Polynesia.
At auction, the 1893 work has fetched tens of millions.
Pictured: The family dispute has raged on in Jersey's Royal Court over a number of years.
Commissioner Clyde-Smith said that it “stretches credulity that Camilla does not at least have a belief as to where this painting is currently located”.
The Court also heard that, despite professing to have disclosed everything she knew about the artworks, Princess Camilla had been “closely involved” with them since 2015.
In the same court hearing, Princess Camilla was also challenged on her failure to pay previous costs orders of £4,000 and £7,000.
In a letter to the Court in August, the Princess argued: “It has always been my position that I will not make payments directly, as my bank account details are private.”
She therefore said she would send payments to the Court account to be transferred on, but, two months later, the Commissioner noted: “The Court is not aware of any payment having been made.”
Pictured: Click the image to read Connect's article about the ongoing family feud.
The Princess, represented by Advocate David Steenson, was also found to have failed to submit two affidavits that had been requested of her.
The Court subsequently concluded that it had been “proved beyond reasonable doubt” the Princess was in “serious” contempt of court.
Such an offence can carry a prison sentence. However, BNP’s legal representative, Advocate William Redgrave, said that the firm did not wish to see the Princess sent to prison.
The Court said that the sanction imposed on Princess Camilla for the breach was a “separate issue” to be considered at a later stage.
Pictured top: The Commissioner said that it "stretches credulity" that the Princess did not know where Paul Gauguin's 'Hina Maruru' was. (Delcampe/Wiki)
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