Doctors in Austria say Dutch Prince Johan Friso, who was injured in an avalanche last week, is in a coma and may never regain consciousness.
Prince Friso, had been on a skiing holiday in the Austrian resort of Lech. He was buried under snow for about 15 minutes before being rescued.
The prince, 43, is the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
The incident occurred just after midday last Friday. He was taken to hospital in Innsbruck after the accident, in which nobody else was hurt.
The BBC reports a beeper he was wearing allowed rescuers to locate him quickly.
But Dr Wolfgang Koller of Innsbruck University hospital said it took nearly 50 minutes to revive the prince.
MRI scans have shown his brain suffered "massive damage'' in the avalanche.
The prince will be moved at a later date to a private clinic for further treatment but it may take years before he awakens, if ever.