Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Royal Profile: HM Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands

Queen Beatix of The Netherlands was born 31 January 1938 in The Netherlands, the oldest of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld’s children. The Princess of The Netherlands has three younger sisters-Princesses Irene, Margriet & Christina. Her godparents are King Leopold III of the Belgians, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, Princess Elisabeth of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, and Countess Allene de Kotzebue.

At the outbreak of WWII in 1940, the two-year-old princess and her younger sister along with her parents and grandmother fled to London. A month later she, her mother and sister fled to Canada. While in exile, the young princess attended the first few years of school in Canada. Her younger sister Margriet was born in 1943. The family returned to The Netherlands in 1945. The young princess then began to attend school in The Netherlands. Her youngest sister was born two years after their return to The Netherlands. In September 1948, her mother succeeded her grandmother on the throne, making the ten year old princess heiress presumptive to the throne. She continued her education in The Netherlands, passing her high school exams in 1950. On her 18th birthday in January 1956, she was entitled to assume the Royal Prerogative by the declaration of the Constitution of The Netherlands and at this time, her mother gave her a seat on the Council of State. She began her studies at university after her 18th birthday and being declared a member of the Council of State and the Royal Prerogative at Leiden University. The Hereditary Princess studied a variety of subjects, and traveled extensively in her years at university.

In 1965, she became engaged to Claus von Amsburg, who was a diplomat that was working for the German Foreign Office at the time. Because her husband had served Hitler, her wedding was met with controversy. However, as time worn on after the March 1965 wedding, Prince Claus was a widely popular figure until his death in 2002.

In 1980, her mother, who was Queen of The Netherlands and advancing in her years, abdicated in favor of her oldest daughter. Even though domestically, her powers are limited by the Constitution, she has great influence on the affairs of The Netherlands. For example, at her request the Minister of Foreign Affairs opened The Netherlands’s embassy in Jordan.

From 2002-2004, the Queen’s life was filled with tragedy. First, her husband of nearly 37 years died in October. Second, a year and a half after losing her husband her mother died of dementia in March 2004, and her father, Bernhard succumbed to cancer in December that same year. During this time, the Queen was surrounded by her three sons-Princes Williem-Alexander, Frisco, and Constantijn, her daughters-in-law, Princesses Maxima, Mabel and Laurentien, as well as two grandchildren who were born during that time-Countess Eloise & Count Claus-Casimir (both the children of her youngest son), as well as her sisters Irene, Christina & Margriet, and their children and grandchildren.  

In the last few years, the Queen of The Netherlands and her family have been targeted by protesters. In 2009, there was an attempted car attack during a parade celebrating the Queen’s succession to the throne. This is believed to be the first attack on a Dutch monarch in modern times. Today, the Queen continues to be an active mother, grandmother and queen.

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