Beatrix of the Netherlands

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Beatrix
Prinses Beatrix.jpg
Queen of the Netherlands
Reign30 April 1980 – 30 April 2013
Inauguration 30 April 1980
Predecessor Juliana
Successor Willem-Alexander
Prime Ministers
Born (1938-01-31) 31 January 1938 (age 81)
Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
Spouse
Claus von Amsberg
(m. 1966;died 2002)
Issue
Detail
Full name
Beatrix Wilhemina Armgard
House
Father Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Mother Queen Juliana of the Netherlands
Religion Protestantism
Signature Beatrix of the Netherlands Signature.svg

Beatrix [1] (Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbeːjaːtrɪks ˌʋɪlɦɛlˈminaː ˈʔɑrmɡɑrt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 31 January 1938) is a member of the Dutch royal family who reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 30 April 1980 until her abdication on 30 April 2013.

Beatrix is the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Upon her mother's accession in 1948, she became heir presumptive. Beatrix attended a public primary school in Canada during World War II, and then finished her primary and secondary education in the Netherlands in the post-war period. In 1961, she received her law degree from Leiden University. In 1966, Beatrix married Claus von Amsberg, a German diplomat, with whom she had three children. When her mother abdicated on 30 April 1980, Beatrix succeeded her as queen.

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld spouse of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, prince-consort of the Netherlands

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld was a German-born prince who was the consort of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands; they were the parents of four children, including Princess Beatrix, who later served as Queen of the Netherlands from 1980 to 2013.

An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. The position is however subject to law and/or conventions that may alter who is entitled to be heir presumptive.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Beatrix's reign saw the country's Caribbean possessions reshaped with Aruba's secession and becoming its own constituent country within the Kingdom in 1986 as well as the subsequent Antillean Dissolution in 2010, which created the new special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, and the two new constituent countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Netherlands Antilles Former Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Netherlands Antilles was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country consisted of several island territories located in the Caribbean Sea. The islands were also informally known as the Dutch Antilles. The country came into being in 1954 as the autonomous successor of the Dutch colony of Curaçao and Dependencies, and was dissolved in 2010. The former Dutch colony of Surinam, although it was relatively close by on the continent of South America, did not become part of Netherlands Antilles but became a separate autonomous country in 1954. All the island territories that belonged to the Netherlands Antilles remain part of the kingdom today, although the legal status of each differs. As a group they are still commonly called the Dutch Caribbean, regardless of their legal status.

Aruba Island country in the Caribbean, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 32 kilometres (20 mi) long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 10 kilometres (6 mi) across at its widest point. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.

Status aparte is a Latin phrase referring to the "special status" of a dependent territory or a region or a country, being an area that does not have political independence or sovereignty, but is rather considered as a special administrative region. The status of dependency within the Kingdom of the Netherlands is an example of such status.

On Koninginnedag (Queen's Day), 30 April 2013, Beatrix abdicated in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, and resumed the title of princess. [2] At the time of her abdication at age 75, Beatrix was the oldest reigning monarch in the country's history. [3]

Monarchy of the Netherlands Wikimedia list article

The monarchy of the Netherlands is constitutional and, as such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a fairly large portion of the Dutch Constitution is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the document describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the Staten-Generaal and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.

Early life

Beatrix was born Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, on 31 January 1938 at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands. She is the first child of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and German aristocrat Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. [4] Beatrix was baptized on 12 May 1938 in the Great Church in The Hague. [5] Her five godparents were King Leopold III of Belgium; Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone; Elisabeth, Princess of Erbach-Schönberg; Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg; and Countess Allene de Kotzebue. [6] Beatrix's middle names are the first names of her maternal grandmother, the then reigning Queen Wilhelmina, and her paternal grandmother, Armgard of Sierstorpff-Cramm.

Soestdijk Palace palace

Soestdijk Palace is a former palace of the Dutch Royal Family. It consists of a central block and two wings.

Baarn Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

Baarn[baːrn](listen) is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht.

Juliana of the Netherlands Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 - 1980

Juliana was Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 until her abdication in 1980.

When Beatrix was one year old, in 1939, her younger sister Princess Irene was born. [4]

Princess Irene of the Netherlands Dutch princess

Princess Irene of the Netherlands is the second child of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.

Beatrix and Irene on board the Piet Hein in 1946 Prinses Beatrix, prinses Irene en prinses Juliana kijken naar voorbij varende sc, Bestanddeelnr 255-7629 (crop).jpg
Beatrix and Irene on board the Piet Hein in 1946

World War II broke out in the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 (Westfeldzug). On 13 May, the Dutch Royal Family evacuated to London, United Kingdom. One month later, Beatrix went to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with her mother Juliana and her sister Irene, while her father Bernhard and maternal grandmother Queen Wilhelmina remained in London. [4] The family lived at the Stornoway residence (now the residence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Canada). [7] With bodyguards and ladies in waiting, the family summered at Bigwin Inn on Lake of Bays, Ontario where four private stone cottages of the resort served as their retreat. While on Bigwin Island, the constitution of the Netherlands was stored in the safe of Bigwin Inn's Rotunda building. Princess Juliana and her Family were remembered for their "down to earth" friendliness, general gratefulness and great reverence for their homeland and people, to whom they paid homage by refraining from all luxuries offered to guests at the resort that was once billed as the largest and most luxurious summer resort in Canada. In order to provide them with a greater sense of security, culinary chefs and staff catered to personal orders at meal time. Upon their departure, the hotel musicians of the Bigwin Inn Orchestra assembled dockside; and at every public performance afterward through to the end of World War II, the Wilhelmus was played. In the years following the shuttering and neglect of the island resort, the "Juliana" cottages were well maintained and preserved in an informal tribute to Princess Juliana and her family. In thanks for the protection of her and her daughters, Princess Juliana established the custom of the delivery to the Canadian government every spring of tulips, which are the centrepiece of the Canadian Tulip Festival.

The second sister of Beatrix, Princess Margriet, was born in Ottawa in 1943. [4] During their exile in Canada, Beatrix attended nursery and [8] Rockcliffe Park Public School, a primary school where she was known as "Trixie Orange". [9] [10]

On 5 May 1945, the German troops in the Netherlands surrendered. The family returned to the Netherlands on 2 August 1945. Beatrix went to the progressive primary school De Werkplaats in Bilthoven. Her third sister Princess Christina was born in 1947. [4] On 6 September 1948, her mother Juliana succeeded her grandmother Wilhelmina as Queen of the Netherlands, and Beatrix became the heiress presumptive to the throne of the Netherlands at the age of ten.

Education

Princess Beatrix and Queen Juliana in 1960 Christmas - queen Juliana and princess Beatrix.jpg
Princess Beatrix and Queen Juliana in 1960

In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, a part of Baarnsch Lyceum, where, in 1956, she passed her school-graduation examinations in the subjects of arts and classics. [11]

In 1954, Princess Beatrix served as bridesmaid at the wedding of Baroness van Randwijck and Mr T Boey. [12]

On 31 January 1956 Princess Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday. From that date, under the Constitution of the Netherlands, she was entitled to assume the Royal Prerogative. At that time, her mother installed her in the Council of State. [13]

The same year her studies at Leiden University began. In her first years at the university, she studied sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law. [11] In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law, history and European law

The princess also visited various European and international organisations in Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris, and Brussels. She was also an active member of the VVSL (Female Union for Students in Leiden), now called L.S.V. Minerva, after merging with the Leidsch Studenten Corps (which before then was male-only). In the summer of 1959, she passed her preliminary examination in law, and she obtained her law degree in July 1961. [11]

Political involvement

Henck Arron, Princess Beatrix, and Johan Ferrier during the independence ceremony of Suriname in 1975 Arron, Beatrix en Ferrier in Suriname 1975.jpg
Henck Arron, Princess Beatrix, and Johan Ferrier during the independence ceremony of Suriname in 1975

Her appearance on the political scene was almost immediately marked by controversy. In 1965, Princess Beatrix became engaged to the German aristocrat Claus von Amsberg, a diplomat working for the German Foreign Office. There was a massive protest on their wedding day in Amsterdam on 10 March 1966. Prince Claus had served in the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht and was therefore associated by some of the Dutch population with German Nazism. Protests included such memorable slogans as "Claus 'raus!" (Claus out!) and "Mijn fiets terug" ("Return my bicycle" – a reference to occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles during WWII). A group of Provos threw a smoke bomb at the Golden Coach, resulting in a violent street battle with the police. But as time went on, Prince Claus became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy, and his death in 2002 was widely mourned.

On 25 November 1975, Beatrix and Prince Claus attended the independence ceremony of Suriname, held in the new nation's capital, Paramaribo, representating her mother, the Queen.

There was an even more violent riot on 30 April 1980, during the investiture (sovereigns of the Netherlands are not crowned as such) of Queen Beatrix. Some people, including socialist squatters, used the occasion to protest against poor housing conditions in the Netherlands and against the monarchy in general, using the slogan "Geen woning; geen Kroning" (No home, no coronation). There were violent clashes with the police and security forces. This event is reflected in contemporary Dutch literature in the books of A.F.Th. van der Heijden.

As monarch, Beatrix had weekly meetings with the prime minister. She signed all new Acts of Parliament and royal decrees, and until a constitutional change late in her reign, appointed the informateur , an official who is responsible for chairing coalition talks in the formation of new governments. At the state opening of parliament each September, she delivered the Speech from the Throne, in which the government announces its plans for the coming parliamentary year. As Queen, she was president of the Council of State. Her role was largely ceremonial and as a focus of national unity; she did not make legislative or executive decisions.

Beatrix is a member of the Bilderberg Group, [14] a secretive, invitation-only annual conference co-founded by her father which first met in Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek.

Marriage and children

Queen Beatrix with Prince Claus and their children Constantijn, Willem-Alexander, and Friso on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam following the abdication of Queen Juliana, 1980. Troonswisseling, balkonscene - Change of throne balcony scene (8638755621).jpg
Queen Beatrix with Prince Claus and their children Constantijn, Willem-Alexander, and Friso on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam following the abdication of Queen Juliana, 1980.

On 28 June 1965, the engagement of Princess Beatrix to the German diplomat Claus von Amsberg was announced. Claus and Beatrix had met at the wedding-eve party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, in summer 1964. Following the consent of Parliament to the marriage, Claus von Amsberg became a Dutch citizen, and upon his marriage became Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg.

Princess Beatrix married Claus von Amsberg on 10 March 1966 in civil and religious ceremonies. [15] The bride wore a traditional gown with train in duchesse silk satin, designed by Caroline Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette, in Den Bosch, and the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara. The senior bridesmaids were the bride’s youngest sister, Princess Christina of the Netherlands; Princess Christina of Sweden, Lady Elisabeth Anson, Joanna Roëll, Eugénie Loudon and the bridegroom’s sister, Christina von Amsberg. The junior bridesmaids were Daphne Stewart-Clark and Carolijn Alting von Geusau, with page boys Joachim Jencquel and Markus von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff. [16]

The royal couple travelled to the ceremony together in the gold state carriage. [17] The civil ceremony was conducted by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Gijsbert van Hall, at Amsterdam City Hall. The marriage blessing took place in the Westerkerk, conducted by Rev. Hendrik Jan Kater, with a sermon by Rev. Johannes Hendrik Sillevis Smitt. [18]

Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus had three sons:

  1. King Willem-Alexander (born 1967)
  2. Prince Johan Friso, known as "Friso" (1968–2013) [19]
  3. Prince Constantijn (born 1969).

The royal couple lived at Drakensteyn Castle in Lage Vuursche with their children until Beatrix ascended the throne. In 1981, they moved into Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague.

Reign

Queen Beatrix and President Vladimir Putin during his state visit to the Netherlands in 2005 Vladimir Putin in the Netherlands 1 November 2005-2.jpg
Queen Beatrix and President Vladimir Putin during his state visit to the Netherlands in 2005

On 30 April 1980, Beatrix became the monarch when her mother abdicated. She was sworn-in and inaugurated as monarch during a joint session of the two chambers of the States General at a ceremony held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam later that day.

Beatrix's constitutional duties included those typically accorded to a head of state; this includes having to sign every piece of legislation before it becomes law, formally appointing various officials, receiving and accrediting ambassadors, and awarding honours and medals, among others. Outside of these constitutional duties, her other informal roles included being the highest representative of the kingdom internationally and to be a unifying figure locally.

Beatrix was rarely quoted directly in the press during her reign since the government information service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst) made it a condition of interviews that she may not be quoted. This policy was introduced shortly after her inauguration, reportedly to protect her from political complications that may arise from "off-the-cuff" remarks. It did not apply to her son Prince Willem-Alexander.

Throughout much of her reign Beatrix had a considerable role in the cabinet formation process; notably she appointed the informateur , the person who leads the negotiations that ultimately lead to the formation of a government. However, this was changed in 2012, and now the largest party in the States General appoints a "scout" who then appoints an informateur.

On 1 January 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became a separate constituent country in the Dutch Kingdom.

On 6 October 2002, the Queen's husband, Prince Claus, died after a long illness. A year and a half later her mother died after long suffering from senile dementia, while her father succumbed to cancer in December 2004.

On 8 February 2005, Queen Beatrix received a rare honorary doctorate from Leiden University, an honour the Queen does not usually accept. In her acceptance speech she reflected on the monarchy and her own 25 years as Queen. [20] The speech was broadcast live. [21]

Queen Beatrix and her son, Willem-Alexander in the Golden Coach on Prinsjesdag 2007, the day she gives the annual speech from the throne outlining the government's agenda for the upcoming parliamentary year. Beatrix Prinsjesdag.jpg
Queen Beatrix and her son, Willem-Alexander in the Golden Coach on Prinsjesdag 2007, the day she gives the annual speech from the throne outlining the government's agenda for the upcoming parliamentary year.

On 29 and 30 April 2005, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her reign. She was interviewed on Dutch television, was offered a concert on Dam Square in Amsterdam, and a celebration took place in The Hague, the country's seat of government.

On 31 May 2006 the 6th Polish Air Assault Brigade would receive the Militaire Willemsorde der 4e klasse in The Hague. Queen Beatrix was to tie the prestigious medal to the standard of the incumbents of the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade. [22]

On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles were formally dissolved. The new municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba and the new constituent countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten were established in its place. The dissolution ceremony in the Netherlands Antilles' capital, Willemstad, was attended by the then-Prince and Princess of Orange, Willem-Alexander and his wife Máxima, representing the Queen.

Attack on the Royal Family

On 30 April 2009, the Queen and other members of the royal family were targeted in a car attack by a man named Karst Tates. Tates crashed his car into a parade in Apeldoorn, narrowly missing a bus carrying the Queen. Five people were killed instantly and two victims and the assailant Tates died later. Other victims of the crash were critically hurt. One week after the attack, another victim succumbed to the injuries he had sustained. The royal party were unharmed, but the Queen and members of her family saw the crash at close range. Within hours, Queen Beatrix made a rare televised address to express her shock and condolences. The man reportedly told police he was deliberately targeting the royal family. [23]

Abdication

Beatrix in 2013, prior to her abdication Beatrix in April 2013.jpg
Beatrix in 2013, prior to her abdication

In a broadcast on national media on 28 January 2013, Beatrix announced her intention to abdicate on 30 April (Queen's Day), when she would have been on the throne for exactly 33 years. Beatrix stated that it was time to "place the responsibility for the country in the hands of a new generation." [24] Her heir apparent was her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander. [25] She was the third successive Dutch monarch to abdicate, following her grandmother and her mother. [25] The broadcast was followed by a statement from Prime Minister Mark Rutte who paid tribute to Beatrix, saying "Since her investiture in 1980, she has applied herself heart and soul to Dutch society." [24]

The official programme for the abdication and inauguration took place on 30 April 2013. Beatrix signed the instrument of abdication in the Vroedschapkamer (also known as Mozeszaal) [26] in the Royal Palace, Amsterdam at 10:07 a.m. local time. With the completion of her signature, she was no longer monarch. The inauguration of Willem-Alexander as king took place that afternoon in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. [27]

Personal wealth

Princess Beatrix following her abdication with her son and successor and his wife King Willem-Alexander, Princess Beatrix and Queen Maxima.jpg
Princess Beatrix following her abdication with her son and successor and his wife

In 2009, Forbes estimated her wealth at US$300 million. [28]

Post-abdication

Princess Beatrix continues to undertake some royal duties and is patron of many organisations. She now lives in the small moated Drakensteyn Castle near the village of Lage Vuursche. [29]

Cultural impact

Queen Beatrix has given her name to a number of facilities in the Netherlands and beyond. These include:

A few parks in the country also bear her name:

It has been speculated that Queen Beatrix is De Onbekende Beeldhouwer (Unknown Sculptor), whose work has been appearing in Amsterdam since 1983. There has been no confirmation of this. [35]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Royal Monogram of Queen Beatrix Royal Monogram of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.svg
Royal Monogram of Queen Beatrix

Princess Beatrix has held titles throughout her life, as a granddaughter or daughter of a monarch, and eventually as the Sovereign. Queen Beatrix's official title was Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, etc., etc., etc. [36] The triple etc. refers to the monarch's many dormant titles. She signed official documents with only "Beatrix". In common parlance she was referred to as The Queen (de koningin or de vorstin) or Her Majesty (Hare Majesteit). But when in conversation with the queen the practice was to initially address her as "Your Majesty" or in Dutch as "Uwe Majesteit" [37] and thereafter as "Mevrouw" (ma'am). [38]

Beatrix has received honours and awards from countries around the world, both during her life as a princess and as a monarch. In her capacity as the Sovereign she was Grand Master of the Military Order of William (Militaire Willemsorde) and the other Dutch orders of merit. She is a Stranger Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the 1,187th Dame of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, and she has received numerous other medals and decorations.

From birth till her inauguration as queen she had the following name and titles, to which she reverted after her abdication: Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. [39]

Arms

Issue

NameBirthDeathMarriage
DateSpouseIssue
Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands 27 April 19672 February 2002 Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti
Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau 25 September 196812 August 201324 April 2004 Mabel Wisse Smit
  • Countess Luana of Orange-Nassau
  • Countess Zaria of Orange-Nassau
Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands 11 October 196919 May 2001 Laurentien Brinkhorst

Ancestry

Prime Ministers during the Queen's reign

Prime Ministers during the Queen's reign
PolityPrime MinisterStart yearEnd year
Aruba Henny Eman 19861989 [40]
Nelson O. Oduber 19891994
Henny Eman 19942001
Nelson O. Oduber 20012009
Mike Eman 20092013
Netherlands Dries van Agt 19771982
Ruud Lubbers 19821994
Wim Kok 19942002
Jan Peter Balkenende 20022010
Mark Rutte 20102013
Netherlands Antilles Dominico Martina 19791984
Maria Liberia Peters 19841986
Dominico Martina 19861988
Maria Liberia Peters 19881993
Susanne Camelia-Römer 1993
Alejandro Felippe Paula
Miguel Arcangel Pourier19941998
Susanne Camelia-Römer 19981999
Miguel Arcangel Pourier19992002
Etienne Ys 20022003
Ben Komproe 2003
Mirna Louisa-Godett20032004
Etienne Ys 20042006
Emily de Jongh-Elhage 20062010
Curaçao Gerrit Schotte 20102012
Stanley Betrian 20122012
Daniel Hodge 20122013
Sint Maarten Sarah Wescot-Williams 20102013

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  35. Depictions, text in Dutch Retrieved 23 June 2017.
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  40. Aruba received status aparte in 1986.
Beatrix of the Netherlands
Born: 31 January 1938
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Juliana
Queen of the Netherlands
1980–2013
Succeeded by
Willem-Alexander