Finally, Willem-Alexander announced his engagement to Maxima Zorreguieta. This time the problem is not the future bride herself, but her father. He was a member of Argentina's former junta, a repressive regime blamed for torturing and killing thousands. Some politicians even said Willem-Alexander should renounce his right to the throne if he insisted on marrying Zorreguieta.
Bottom line: Since then things have calmed down. Zorreguieta's parents won't be coming to the royal wedding, and she's taken care to distance herself from her dad's past. She has also been studying Dutch, which should endear her to her fiancé's future subjects.
Denmark: Crown Prince Frederik
He's certainly no melancholy Dane. Frederik, 33, is a favorite with the ladies, but apparently his mother, Queen Margarethe II, hasn't considered any of them marriage material. Among Frederik's gal pals: a Danish pop singer, an underwear model (yep, princes seem to like underwear models), and a young lady who was unwise enough to be photographed topless while boating with the prince.
Bottom line: He's handsome, athletic (this spring, he went on a dogsled trek in Greenland), and the most eligible bachelor in Scandinavia. And he's got some time to play the field before he has to settle down and produce an heir. His younger brother, Prince Joachim, is married and has a young son, which takes some of the pressure off Frederik.
Crown Princess Masako
There has never been a hint of scandal attached to Crown Princess Masako, but she has suffered from the intense pressure to produce an heir. Masako, a Harvard-educated diplomat, married Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993. She became pregnant in 1999 but suffered a miscarriage — which palace officials blamed on the intense media scrutiny. Early this year, the entire nation celebrated when the palace announced that the 37-year-old princess was again expecting.
Bottom line: Masako still feels the heat — to produce a son. Under the Japanese constitution, women cannot ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Monaco: Prince Albert
Such a little country, such a lot of scandal. When American movie star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainer III, it seemed like a fairy tale. But since the death of Princess Grace, her children have been never been out of the tabloid headlines for long.
Albert, the heir, now 43 and bald, apparently likes being playboy prince, and there has been a lot of speculation as to why he hasn't settled down yet. The prince has denied rumors that he's gay.
He certainly seems to enjoy female company: He's been linked with the likes of supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Angie Everhart. In 1992, the prince was hit with a paternity suit filed by a California woman who claimed Albert is the father of her daughter, Jazmine Grace Grimaldi. (Albert denied it.)
Bottom line: Albert may be the heir, but his father shows no signs of wanting to step down early. And he's often overshadowed by his elder sister, who has acted as first lady of Monaco since the death of Princess Grace.
Monaco: Princess Caroline
Caroline's personal life has been tumultuous, to say the least. When she was just 21, she married Philippe Junot, a much older French playboy. Her parents didn't think the marriage would last, and they were right. The couple divorced in 1980, after two years of less than wedded bliss.