Beatrix of the Netherlands
Birthday: January 31, 1938
Empresses & Queens
Age: 82 Years, 82 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard
Born in: Soestdijk Palace, Baarn
Famous as: Former Queen of the Netherlands
Spouse/Ex-: Prince Claus of the Netherlands (m. 1966–2002)
father: Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
mother: Juliana of the Netherlands
siblings: Alexia Grinda, Alicia de Bielefeld, Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
children: Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
Notable Alumni: Leiden University
education: Leiden University
awards: 1982 - Royal Victorian Chain
1983 - Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Order of the Star of Romania
Beatrix of the Netherlands is a member of the Dutch royal family who reigned as Queen of the Netherlands for 33 years before abdicating in favor of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, the current king of the Netherlands. As the oldest daughter of Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Beatrix became heir presumptive when her mother ascended the throne. Educated in Canada and the Netherlands, she holds a degree in law. She inherited her grandmother's passion for freedom and her mother's passion for social welfare. Throughout her rule, she advocated the ideals of democracy and freedom around the world. It even earned her the gratitude of Nelson Mandela who acknowledged her nation's support in his struggle against apartheid in Africa. During her reign, the country's Caribbean possessions were reshaped, and Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became a separate constituent country in the Dutch Kingdom. Shortly before her abdication, the Netherlands Antilles were formally dissolved, creating new municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, in addition to new constituent countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
Childhood & Early Life
Beatrix of the Netherlands was born as Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard on 31 January 1938 at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands, to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and German aristocrat Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She was the first child of her parents and was baptized on 12 May 1938 in the Great Church in The Hague.
As World War II broke out in the Netherlands in May 1940, the family, including her grandmother Queen Wilhelmina fled to the United Kingdom where her father and her grandmother stayed throughout the war. For more safety, her mother took her and her sister Princess Irene (born 1939) to Ottawa in Canada where her second sister Princess Margriet was born in 1943.
The family returned to the Netherlands on 2 August 1945, three months after the German troops in the country surrendered. Beatrix’s youngest sister Princess Christina was born at the Soestdijk Palace in 1947. In September 1948, her grandmother abdicated the throne, following which her mother became the Queen of the Netherlands and Beatrix became the heiress presumptive to the throne.
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Beatrix of the Netherlands began attending nursery and primary school while in exile in Canada, and later continued her primary education at De Werkplaats, Kees Boeke’s progressive school in Bilthoven. She attended the Incrementum, a part of Baarnsch Lyceum, in April 1950, graduating from there in arts subjects and classics in 1956.
After completing her school education, Beatrix began studying sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law at Leiden University. During this time, 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.
While studying at the university, she visited several European and international organizations in Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris and Brussels. She passed her preliminary examination in law in the summer of 1959 and obtained a combined degree in subjects like law, sociology and economics in July 1961.
Family & Personal Life
Beatrix of the Netherlands first met German diplomat Claus von Amsberg at the wedding-eve party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, in summer 1964. Following the Act of Consent, the two houses of parliament passed a bill consenting to their marriage in autumn 1965, and granting Claus Dutch citizenship.
Because her fiancé had served in Hitler’s youth army and the Wehrmacht, some linked him to German Nazism, which caused a massive protest in Amsterdam on their wedding day on March 10, 1966. A violent street battle erupted after a group of Provos threw a smoke bomb at the Golden Coach, which carried the couple to the ceremony.
They were married in civil and religious ceremonies at Amsterdam City Hall and in the Westerkerk respectively, following which her husband became Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg. They took residence at the small octagonal-shaped Drakensteyn Castle in Lage Vuursche, which she had bought in 1959.
They raised their three sons, future King Willem-Alexander, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn, at Drakensteyn Castle before relocating to Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague after she ascended the throne. Her husband, who later became popular among the masses, died in 2002 after suffering from several ailments.
Within two years of her husband's death, she lost her mother, who died after suffering from senile dementia; and her father, who succumbed to cancer. Her middle son Friso died in 2013 following complications from an avalanche accident.
Political Involvements & Reign
Following her 18th birthday on January 31, 1956, Beatrix of the Netherlands assumed the Royal Prerogative under the Constitution of the Netherlands and was installed in the Council of State by her mother. She and her husband represented her mother, Queen Juliana, at the independence ceremony of Suriname on November 25, 1975.
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(After her mother abdicated the throne on April 30, 1980, Beatrix was sworn-in as the queen during a joint session of the two chambers of the States General in the Nieuwe Kerk. Her investiture caused another violent riot, as many denounced the monarchy and protested against poor housing conditions in the Netherlands.
Her duties as the monarch included holding weekly meetings with the prime minister and signing royal decrees and all new Acts of Parliament. She also appointed the informateur, who was meant to lead negotiations before forming a government.
Each September, she gave a speech from the throne before government announced its upcoming plans at the state opening of parliament. On April 29-30, 2005, a celebration took place in The Hague on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of her reign, which included a concert thrown in her honor at Dam Square in Amsterdam.
A man named Karst Tates deliberately crashed his car into a parade in Apeldoorn on April 30, 2009. He was specifically targeting a bus carrying the Queen and other members of the royal family. The accident immediately killed five people, while three more victims and the assailant died afterwards.
Following the examples of her mother and grandmother, she abdicated the throne on April 30, 2013, when she completed her 33-year-long reign. When she passed on the throne to heir apparent Prince Willem-Alexander at the age of 75, she was already the oldest reigning monarch in the country.
Beatrix of the Netherlands who returned to Drakensteyn Castle following her abdication still serves as the patron of many organizations and occasionally undertakes certain royal duties. According to Forbes magazine’s 2009 estimation, she has a net worth of over $300 million.
Honors & Titles
From her birth until her marriage, Beatrix of the Netherlands held the titles, 'Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands', 'Princess of Orange-Nassau', and 'Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld'.
She became 'Mevrouw van Amsberg' following her marriage, and 'Her Majesty The Queen' after ascending the throne. She resumed her older titles following her abdication.
Based on her patrilineal descent, which royal houses employ to trace their descent through male ancestors, Beatrix of the Netherlands belongs to the House of Lippe.