Why are they famous? Prince Ernst of Hanover

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Main Claim: Let's face it, there are European royals and there are European royals. Some of them are whey faced Scandi/ Bavarian-type nobodies with chubby offspring and silly names. Others are glittering superstars dwelling in sugar-spun gambling havens, rotten with soapish fame, looks, tragedy and sex scandals. Prince Ernst of Hanover (polite "Who?") has been seen knocking around with the Riviera's resident supernova, Princess Caroline of Monaco. Hence, we've heard of Prince Ernst of Hanover all of a sudden.

Appearance: Ruffle-haired, chubby cheeked, pixelated by telephoto lens.

Royal Seal: The happy "are they, aren't they?" twosome have been spotted together with unusual frequency. Seen leaving Caroline's Paris house, attending an equestrian event and skiing in Austria with the princess in the space of a fortnight, Ernst has earned himself the kind of Hello! magazine coverage that is more characteristically reserved for Ivana. French magazine Gala has claimed that Ernst, 43, and his wife of 15 years, Chantal, are about to announce their separation. The problem is, Ernst is not a scoundrel, bodyguard or glamour-boy. We expect worse of a Monegasque.

Sidekicks: Ernst, an old friend of Caroline's, was around to pick up the pieces last year after the troubled princess lost her companion of five years and her hair. (Problemette: Ernst's wife Chantal is also an old pal of Caroline's.) Moody French actor Vincent Lindon dropped out of the scene, Caroline suffered mysterious hair loss, and her sister, Gladiator manque Princess Stephanie, was betrayed by her husband with garish, vulgar improbability on video. If only those boring old dynasties in forested European castles would wake up and devise their own B-list scandals, we would grudgingly show a bit more interest. Ernst needs to bleach his hair or buy a polo team at the very least.

Past Imperfect: Perspicacious Princess Grace is said to have earmarked this Ernst fellow for Caroline aeons ago. Caroline married a playboy for a year instead. On their close friendship now, the Grimaldi palace has taken the unusual step of claiming: "There is nothing going on between them." Says a friend of Caroline's: "Here in Monaco we are thrilled to see her with a royal escort. It is just a pity he is married to one of her best friends."

Fame Prospects: Good if he marries Caroline. Excellent if he hides from the press in her ivy-draped Provencal farmhouse. Extremely poor otherwise.

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