Friday, August 5, 2016

Royal Profile: Princess Irene of The Netherlands

Princess Irene Emma Elisabeth of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld was born 5 August 1939 as the second daughter of Queen Juliana of The Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld{Source}.

She was named for:
  • Irene: the Greek Goddess of Peace
  • Emma: likely Queen Emma, who was the wife of Williem III, thus was Irene's great-grandmother
  • Elisabeth: the French form of Elizabeth, so likely for her godmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

She has three sisters, three brothers-in-law, and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews {Source}:

  1. Princess Beatrix (1938)
    1. Prince Claus of The Netherlands (m. 1966, his death 2004)
      1. King Willem-Alexander (1967) 
        1. Queen Maxima (1971, m. 2002)
          1. Princess Catharina-Amalia of Oranje (2003)
          2. Princess Alexia of The Netherlands (2005)
          3. Princess Ariane of The Netherlands (2007)
      2. Prince Friso of Oranje-Nassau (1968-2013)
        1. Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau (m. )
          1. Countess Emma Luana Ninette Sophie van Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (2005)
          2. Countess Zaria of Oranje-Nassau (2007)
      3. Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands (1969)
        1. Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands (1966. m. 2001)
          1. Countess Eloise of Oranje-Nassau (2002)
          2. Count Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg (2003)
          3. Countess Leonore van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (2006)
  2. Princess Margriet of The Netherlands (1943)
    1. Pieter van Vollenhoven (m. 1967)
      1. Prince Maurits  van Oranje-Nassau (1968)
        1. Princess Marilène  van Oranje-Nassau (1970, m. 1998) 
          1. Anastasia (Anna) Margriet Joséphine van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (2001)
          2. Lucas Maurits Pieter Henri van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (2002)
          3. Felicia Juliana Benedicte Barbara van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven ( 2005)
      2. Prince Bernhard  van Oranje-Nassau (1969)
        1. Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau (1972, m. 2000)
          1. Isabella Lily Juliana van Vollenhoven (2002)
          2. Samuel Bernhard Louis van Vollenhoven (2004)
          3. Benjamin Pieter Floris van Vollenhoven (2008)
      3. Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau (1972)
        1. Princess Anita  van Oranje-Nassau (1969, m. 2005) 
          1. Emma Francisca Catharina van Vollenhoven (2006)
          2. Pieter Anton Maurits Erik van Vollenhoven (2008)
      4. Prince Floris Frederik Martijn of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven (1975) 
        1. Princess Aimée  van Oranje-Nassau (1977, m. 2005) 
          1. Magali Margriet Eleonoor van Vollenhoven (2007)
          2. Eliane Sophia Carolina van Vollenhoven (2009)
          3. Willem Jan Johannes Pieter Floris van Vollenhoven (2013)
  3. Princess Cristina of The Netherlands (1947)
    1. Bernardo Federico Tomás Guillermo (1977)
      1.   Eva Marie Valdez (1979, m. 2009)
        1. Isabel Christina (2009)
        2. Julián Jorge Guillermo (2011)
    2. Nicolás Daniel Mauricio Guillermo (1979)
    3. Juliana Edenia Antonia Guillermo (1981)

Barely a year old at the outbreak of WWII, her family fled The Netherlands during the Nazi German raid of the country. During the family's flee from The Netherlands, their escape was nearly foiled with an attack of the British warship they were boarding. During the escape, she was placed in a gasproof carrier to protect her from chemical warfare.


She was christened at the Royal Chapel of Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother was one of her godparents.

She studied Spanish in Madrid, where she would meet her first husband, The Duke of Parma.


In 1963, she secretly converted from Protestant to Catholicism, causing a major controversy. Her engagement to The Duke of Parma was announced in 1964, and they were married on 29 April 1964{Source}.
They were divorced in 1981{Source}.
Together, they have four children, and eight grandchildren {Source}:
  1. Prince Carlos of Bourbon- Parma, Duke of Parma (1970)
    1. Princess Annemarie of Bourbon-Parma, The Duchess of Parma (1977, m. 2010)
      1. Master Carlos Klynstra de Bourbon-Parme (illegitimate, legally legitimatized in 2016, 1997)
      2. Princess Luisa of Bourbon-Parma (2012)
      3. Princess Cecila of Bourbon-Parma (2013)
      4. Prince Carlos Enrique, Hereditary Prince of Bourbon-Parma (2016)
  2. Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, The Count of Bardi (1972)
    1. Princess Viktória of Bourbon-Parma (1982, m. 2013)
      1. Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma (2014)
      2. Princess Gloria Irene of Bourbon-Parma (2016)
  3. Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma, Countess of Colorno (1972)
    1. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn (M. 2001-2006, div)
    2. Tjalling ten Cate (1975, m. 2008)
      1. Miss Julia ten Cate (2008)
      2. Miss Paola ten Cate (2011)
  4. Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, Marchioness of Sala (1974)
    1. Mr. Albert Brenninkmeijer (1974. m. 2012)
      1. Miss Alaïa-Maria Irene Cécile Brenninkmeijer (2014)
      2. Master Xavier Albert Alphons Brenninkmeijer (2016)

After the divorce, she and her children (who were ranging in age between 7-11 years old at the time) returned to The Netherlands, and resided at the palace for a short time. A year later, they moved into their own home nearby the palace grounds. In 1999, she purchased a farm in South Africa, turning it into a sanctuary.


In 2001, she helped establish NatuurCollege in The Netherlands {Source}. In 1983 and 1985, she publicly spoke out against the additional deployment of NATO missiles at a large anti-nuclear rally in The Hague and with a letter to the newspaper De Volkskrant {Source}. The Princess is an honourable member of the Club of Budapest {Source}.She holds many honors from various countries, including: The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Iran, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand.

She is godmother to:
  1. Prince Floris Frederik Martijn of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven (her nephew, 1975)

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