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Juliana of the Netherlands

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Juliana of the Netherlands

Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana in 1981
Queen of the Netherlands
Reign 6 September 1948 – 30 April 1980
Prime Ministers See list
Born (1909-04-30)30 April 1909
Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Died 20 March 2004(2004-03-20) (aged 94)
Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
Burial 30 March 2004
Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands
Spouse Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
(m. 1937–2004; her death)
Issue Beatrix of the Netherlands
Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Princess Christina of the Netherlands
Full name
Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina
House House of Orange-Nassau (Official)
House of Mecklenburg (Agnatic)
Father Prince Henry, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Mother Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Religion Reformed

Juliana (Dutch pronunciation: ; Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina; 30 April 1909 – 20 March 2004) was Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1948 until 1980. She reigned for nearly 32 years. Her reign saw the decolonization of both Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) and Suriname from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Upon her death at the age of 94, she was the longest-lived former reigning monarch in the world.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Marriage 2
  • Canadian exile 3
  • Reign 4
  • Illness and death 5
    • Titles and styles 5.1
    • Coat of Arms 5.2
    • Honours and awards 5.3
  • Issue 6
  • Ancestry 7
  • Legacy 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

Princess Juliana and Queen Wilhelmina in 1914.
Princess Juliana in 1916.
Princess Emma and Princess Juliana in 1920.
Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard celebrate their engagement in Amsterdam on 8 September 1936.
Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard with their oldest daughters Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene in Ottawa on 4 May 1942.
Prince Bernhard and Queen Juliana with President of the United States Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman at Washington National Airport on 2 April 1952.
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard at Soestdijk Palace on 30 April 1960.
Queen Juliana and King Baudouin of Belgium at the Plantin-Moretus Museum on 31 May 1960.
Queen Juliana on riding a bicycle on Terschelling on 11 July 1967.
Prince Bernhard and Queen Juliana with President of Indonesia Suharto and First Lady Siti Hartinah at Soestdijk Palace during a state visit on 3 September 1970.
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard returning from Porto Ercole, Italy due to developments in the Lockheed scandal on 26 August 1976.
Queen Juliana at Soestdijk Palace on 29 June 1978.
Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard at Soestdijk Palace on 31 May 1980.
Princess Juliana and Liv Ullmann at the Four Freedoms Award ceremony in Middelburg on 23 June 1984.

Juliana was born in The Hague on 30 April 1909, the only daughter of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Prince Henry, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.[1] She was the first Dutch royal baby since Wilhelmina herself was born in 1880. Wilhelmina had suffered four miscarriages and one stillbirth, raising the prospect that the House of Orange-Nassau would die with her. In all likelihood, this would have meant that the Dutch throne would have passed to Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz, who had very close ties to Germany. Juliana's birth thus assured the royal family's survival. Her mother suffered two further miscarriages after her birth, leaving Juliana as the royal couple's only child.

Juliana spent her childhood at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, and at Noordeinde Palace and Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague. A small school class was formed at Noordeinde Palace on the advice of the educator Jan Ligthart so that, from the age of six, the Princess could receive her primary education with children of her own age. These children were Baroness Elise Bentinck, Baroness Elisabeth van Hardenbroek and Jonkvrouwe Miek (Mary) de Jonge.

As the Dutch constitution specified that Princess Juliana should be ready to succeed to the throne by the age of eighteen, her education proceeded at a faster pace than that of most children. After five years of primary education, the Princess received her secondary education (to pre-university level) from private tutors.

On 30 April 1927, Princess Juliana celebrated her eighteenth birthday. Under the constitution, she had officially come of age and was entitled to assume the royal prerogative, if necessary. Two days later her mother installed her in the "Raad van State" ("Council of State").

In the same year, the Princess enrolled as a student at the University of Leiden. In her first years at university, she attended lectures in sociology, jurisprudence, economics, history of religion, parliamentary history, and constitutional law. In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, international affairs, international law, history, and European law. She graduated from the university in 1930 with a bachelor's degree in international law.[2]


In the 1930s, Queen Wilhelmina began a search for a suitable husband for her daughter. At the time, the House of Orange was one of the most strictly religious royal families in the world, and it was very difficult to find a Protestant prince who suited their standards. Princes from the United Kingdom and Sweden were "vetted" but either declined or were rejected by the princess.

At the 1936 Winter Olympics in Bavaria, she met Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, a young German aristocrat.[2] Prince Bernhard was a suave young businessman, and though not a playboy, certainly a "man about town" with a dashing lifestyle. But his rank and religion were suitable, and so Princess Juliana's royal engagement was arranged by her mother. Princess Juliana fell deeply in love with her fiancé, a love that was to last a lifetime and that withstood separation during the war and Bernhard's many extramarital affairs and illegitimate children. The astute Queen Wilhelmina, by then the richest woman in the world, left nothing to chance. Wilhelmina had her lawyers draw up a prenuptial agreement that specified exactly what the German-born prince could and could not do, and what money he would receive from the royal estate. The couple's engagement was announced on 8 September 1936.

The wedding announcement divided a country that mistrusted Germany under Adolf Hitler. Prior to the wedding, on 24 November 1936, Prince Bernhard was granted Dutch citizenship and changed the spelling of his names from German to Dutch. They married in The Hague on 7 January 1937, the date on which Princess Juliana's grandparents, King William III and Queen Emma, had married fifty-eight years earlier. The civil ceremony was held in The Hague Town Hall and the marriage was blessed in the Great Church (St. Jacobskerk), likewise in The Hague. The young couple moved into Soestdijk Palace in Baarn.

Their first child, Princess Beatrix, was born on 31 January 1938, and their second, Princess Irene, on 5 August 1939.

Canadian exile

On 12 May 1940, during the invasion of the Netherlands by Germany in World War II, Prince Bernhard and Princess Juliana were evacuated to the United Kingdom to be followed the following day by the Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Government, who set up a government in exile. The princess remained there for a month before taking the children to Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where she resided at Stornoway in the suburb of Rockcliffe Park. Her mother and husband remained in Britain with the Dutch government-in-exile.[3]

When her third child, Princess Margriet, was born, the Governor General of Canada, Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, granted Royal Assent to a special law declaring Princess Juliana's rooms at the Ottawa Civic Hospital as extraterritorial so that the infant would have exclusively Dutch, not dual nationality.[4] Had these arrangements not occurred, Princess Margriet would not be in the line of succession. The Canadian government flew the Dutch tricolour flag on parliament's Peace Tower while its carillon rang out with Dutch music at the news of Princess Margriet's birth. Prince Bernhard, who had remained in London with Queen Wilhelmina and members of the exiled Dutch government, was able to visit his family in Canada and be there for Margriet's birth. Princess Juliana's genuine warmth and the gestures of her Canadian hosts created a lasting bond which was reinforced when Canadian soldiers fought and died by the thousands in 1944 and 1945 to liberate the Netherlands from the Nazis. On 2 May 1945 she returned by a military transport plane with Queen Wilhelmina to the liberated part of the Netherlands, rushing to Breda to set up a temporary Dutch government. Once home she expressed her gratitude to Canada by sending the city of Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands erected a Wooden lectern and brass plaque which is dedicated in thanks to the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Ottawa) for their hospitality during Princess Juliana's residence in Ottawa during the Second World War.

On 24 June 1945, she sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth from Gourock, Scotland, to the United States, listing her last permanent residence as London, England. The following year (1946), Juliana donated another 20,500 bulbs, with the request that a portion of these be planted at the grounds of the Ottawa Civic Hospital where she had given birth to Margriet. At the same time, she promised Ottawa an annual gift of tulips during her lifetime to show her lasting appreciation for Canada's war-time hospitality. Each year Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival in celebration of this gift.

On 2 August 1945, Princess Juliana was reunited with her family on Dutch soil. Juliana immediately took part in a post-war relief operation for the people in the northern part of the country, where the Nazi-caused famine (the famine winter of 1944–1945) and their continued torturing and murdering of the previous winter had claimed many victims. She was very active as the president of the Dutch Red Cross and worked closely with the National Reconstruction organization. Her down-to-earth manner endeared her to her people so much that a majority of the Dutch people would soon want Queen Wilhelmina to abdicate in favour of her daughter. In the spring of 1946 Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard visited the countries that had helped the Netherlands during the occupation.

During her pregnancy with her last child, Marijke Christina, Princess Juliana contracted German measles. The girl was born in 1947 with cataracts in both eyes and was soon diagnosed as almost totally blind in one eye and severely limited in the other. Despite her blindness, Christina, as she was called, was a happy and gifted child with a talent for languages and an ear for music. Over time, and with advances in medical technology, her eyesight did improve such that with thick glasses, she could attend school and even ride a bicycle. However, before that happened, her mother, the Princess, clinging to any thread that offered some hope for a cure, came under the strong influence of Greet Hofmans, a faith healer with heterodox beliefs, who was considered by "her many detractors" to be a sham.[3]


Wilhelmina's increasingly precarious health made it increasingly difficult for her to perform her duties. Juliana was forced to take over as regent from 14 October to 1 December 1947. Wilhelmina seriously considered abdicating in favour of Juliana at the end of 1947, but Juliana urged her mother to stay on the throne so she could celebrate her diamond jubilee. However, Wilhelmina was forced to relinquish her royal duties to Juliana once again on 4 May 1948.

The independence of Indonesia, which saw more than 150,000 Dutch troops stationed there as decolonization force, was regarded as an economic disaster for the Netherlands. With the certain loss of the prized colony, the queen announced her intention to abdicate, doing so on 4 September 1948. Two days later, with the eyes of the world upon her, Juliana was inaugurated in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, becoming the 12th member of the House of Orange to rule the Netherlands.

On 27 December 1949 at Dam Palace in Amsterdam, Queen Juliana signed the papers that recognised Indonesian sovereignty over the former Dutch colony. She became Hoofd der Unie (Head of the Union) of the Netherlands-Indonesian Union (1949-1956). On 15 December 1954, the Queen announced that the nation's Caribbean possessions of the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname were to be reconstituted as constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, making them equal partners with the mainland.

Her daughter's blindness and the increasing influence of Hofmans, who had moved into a royal palace, severely affected the queen's marital relationship. Over the next few years, the controversy surrounding the faith healer, at first kept out of the Dutch media, erupted into a national debate over the competency of the queen. However, the debate subsided in part due to Juliana's efforts to connect with her people. She often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman, and preferred to be addressed as "Mevrouw" (Dutch for "Mrs.") rather than her formal title of 'majesty'. She also began riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air.

Although the bicycle and the down-to-earth manners suggest a simple life style, the Dutch royal court of the 1950s and 1960s was still a splendid affair with chamberlains in magnificent uniforms, gilded state coaches, visits to towns in open carriages and lavish entertaining in the huge palaces. At the same time the queen began visiting the citizens of the nearby towns and, unannounced, would drop in on social institutions and schools. Her refreshingly straightforward manner and talk made her a powerful public speaker. On the international stage, Queen Juliana was particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee problem, and had a very special interest in child welfare, particularly in the developing countries.

On the night of 31 January 1953, the Netherlands was hit by the most destructive storm in more than five hundred years. Thirty breaches of dunes and dikes occurred and many towns were swept away by twelve-foot tidal waves. More than two thousand people drowned and tens of thousands were trapped by the floodwaters. Dressed in boots and an old coat, Queen Juliana waded through water and slopped through deep mud all over the devastated areas to bring desperate people food and clothing. Showing compassion and concern, reassuring the people, her tireless efforts would permanently endear her to the citizens of the Netherlands.

In 1956, the influence of Miss Hofmans on Juliana's political views almost brought down the monarchy in a NATO, and the queen's pious and pacifist courtiers. Prime Minister Willem Drees resolved the crisis. However, Juliana lost out to her powerful husband and his friends. Hofmans was banished from the court and Juliana's supporters were sacked or pensioned. Prince Bernhard planned to divorce his wife but decided against it when he, as he told an American journalist, "found out that the woman still loved him".

In 1963 Queen Juliana faced another crisis among her Protestant citizens when her second daughter Irene secretly converted to Roman Catholicism and, without government approval, on 29 April 1964 married Prince Carlos Hugo of Bourbon, Duke of Parma, a claimant to the Spanish throne and also a leader in Spain's Carlist party. With memories of the Dutch struggle for independence from Roman Catholic Spain and fascist German oppression still fresh in the minds of the Dutch people, the events leading to the marriage were played out in all the newspapers and a storm of hostility erupted against the monarchy for allowing it to happen—a matter so serious that the queen's abdication became a real possibility. She survived, however, thanks to the underlying devotion she had earned over the years.

Another crisis developed as a result of the announcement in July 1965 of the engagement of Princess Beatrix, heir to the throne, to German diplomat Claus von Amsberg. The future husband of the future queen had been a member of the Nazi Wehrmacht and the Hitler Youth movement. Many angry Dutch citizens demonstrated in the streets, and held rallies and marches against the "traitorous" affair. While this time there were no calls for the queen's abdication because the true object of the people's wrath, Princess Beatrix, would then be queen, they did start to question the value of having a monarchy at all. After attempting to have the marriage cancelled, Queen Juliana acquiesced and the marriage took place under a continued storm of protest and an almost certain attitude pervaded the country that Princess Beatrix might be the last member of the House of Orange to ever reign in the Netherlands. Despite all these difficulties, Queen Juliana's personal popularity suffered only temporarily.

The queen was noted for her courtesy and kindness. In May 1959, for example, [5] Adamski informed a London newspaper about the invitation, which prompted the court and cabinet to request that the queen cancel her meeting with Adamski, but the queen went ahead with the meeting saying that, "A hostess cannot slam the door in the face of her guests."[5] After the meeting, Dutch Aeronautical Association president Cornelis Kolff said, "The Queen showed an extraordinary interest in the whole subject."[5] The Dutch press put it more straightforwardly: According to Time Magazine Amsterdam newspaper De Volkskrant said: "The Dutch press could hardly be accused of concealing the facts last week. Once again, Queen Juliana's weakness for the preternatural had landed her back in the headlines: she had invited to the palace a crackpot from California who numbered among his friends men from Mars, Venus and other solar-system suburbs."[6]

An event in April 1967, helped by an improving Dutch economy, brought an overnight revitalization of the royal family when the first male heir to the Dutch throne in 116 years, Willem-Alexander, was born to Princess Beatrix. This time the demonstrations in the street were of love and enthusiasm.

Scandal rocked the royal family again in 1976 when it was revealed that Prince Bernhard had accepted a US$1.1 million bribe from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Corporation to influence the Dutch government's purchase of fighter aircraft in what became known as the Lockheed Scandal.

Prime Minister Joop den Uyl ordered an inquiry into the affair while Prince Bernhard refused to answer reporters' questions, stating: "I am above such things." Rather than calling on the queen to abdicate, the Dutch people were this time fearful that their beloved Juliana might abdicate out of shame or because of a criminal prosecution conducted in her name against her consort.

On 25 November 1975, Suriname seceded from the Dutch Kingdom and became independent. Representing the Queen at the independence ceremony in the Surinamese capital, Paramaribo, were her daughter and heir presumptive, Princess Beatrix, and her husband, Prince Claus.

On 26 August 1976, a censored and toned-down, but devastating report on Prince Bernhard's activities was released to a shocked Dutch public. The prince resigned his various high-profile positions as a lieutenant admiral, a general, and an Inspector General of the Armed Forces. He resigned from his positions in the board of many businesses, charities, the World Wildlife Fund, and other institutions. The prince also accepted that he would have to give up wearing his beloved uniforms. In return, the States-General accepted that there was to be no criminal prosecution.

On her International Year of the Child." She was the 922nd Lady of the Order of the Garter in 1958.

On 30 April 1980, her 71st birthday, Queen Juliana abdicated and her eldest daughter succeeded her.[7] Juliana remained active in numerous charitable causes until well into her eighties.

Illness and death

From the mid-1990s, Juliana's health declined and she also suffered the progressive onset of dementia. Juliana did not appear in public after this time. At the order of the Royal Family's doctors, Juliana was placed under 24-hour care. Prince Bernhard said in a television interview in 2001 that the former Queen was no longer able to recognise her family and that she had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years.[8]

Juliana died in her sleep on 20 March 2004, several weeks before her 95th birthday, at Soestdijk Palace in Baarn from complications of pneumonia, seventy years to the day after her grandmother, Queen Emma.[2] She was embalmed, unlike her mother Wilhelmina, who chose not to be, and on 30 March 2004 interred beside her mother in the royal vaults under the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft. The memorial service made her ecumenical and often highly personal views on matters of religion public. The late Princess, a vicar said in her sermon, was interested in all religions and in reincarnation. Juliana's husband Prince Bernhard died eight months later aged 93, on 1 December 2004; his remains were placed next to hers.

In 2009 an exhibition of portraits of Juliana, and objects from her life, was held at the Het Loo Palace to mark the centenary of her birth.[9]

Titles and styles

Juliana's full title and style as an unmarried woman was: Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana Louisa Emma Marie Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Duchess of Mecklenburg, etc.[10][11]

Her mother issued a decree allowing her to adopt her husband's princely title as customary, providing that it is preceded by the title she held as a member of the House of Mecklenburg.[12] The decree became effective upon her marriage, and changed her full title and style to: Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Duchess of Mecklenburg, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, etc.[10]

After her accession to the throne, Juliana's official title was: "Her Majesty, Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Duchess of Mecklenburg, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, etc, etc, etc". Upon her abdication, she resumed her pre-regnal marital title and style.[10][13]

Coat of Arms

Arms of Juliana of the Netherlands
As Queen of the Netherlands (1948 -1980), Juliana used the Greater Coat of Arms of the Realm, (or "Grote Rijkswapen").
Quarterly, 1 and 3, Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or (royal arms of the Netherlands, i.e. that of her mother, Queen Wilhelmina), 2 and 4, Or, a horn azure, langued gules (arms of the former Principality of Orange), on an inescutcheon argent, a Bull's head sable (for her father's House of Mecklenburg).
As Princess, Juliana used a square and swallow tailed flag, with the Royal standard colours and their maternal arms (the horn of Orange) in the upper hoist and their paternal arms (the Bull head of Mecklenburg) in the lower hoist. The arms of the Netherlands (which originates from Nassau) without the insignia of the Order of Willem within an orange circle.
Previous versions
Juliana as monarch bore the Greater Coat of Arms of the Realm, (or "Grote Rijkswapen"). The components of the coats of arms were regulated by Queen Wilhelmina in a royal decree of 10 July 1907 and were affirmed by Juliana in a royal decree of 23 April 1980:

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or.

Honours and awards

Dutch Honours
Foreign and International honours


Name Birth Marriage
Date Spouse Issue
Beatrix of the Netherlands 31 January 1938 10 March 1966
(widowed in 2002)
Claus von Amsberg Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
Prince Friso
Prince Constantijn
Princess Irene of the Netherlands 5 August 1939 29 April 1964
(divorced in 1981)
Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma Carlos, Duke of Parma
Princess Margarita
Prince Jaime
Princess Carolina
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands 19 January 1943 10 January 1967 Pieter van Vollenhoven Prince Maurits
Prince Bernhard
Prince Pieter-Christiaan
Prince Floris
Princess Marijke Christina of the Netherlands 18 February 1947 28 June 1975
(divorced in 1996)
Jorge Pérez y Guillermo Bernardo Guillermo
Nicolás Guillermo
Juliana Guillermo




  1. ^ Simons, Marlise (21 March 2004). "Princess Juliana, Former Dutch Monarch, Is Dead at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c van der Vat, Dan (22 March 2004). "Queen Juliana of the Netherlands". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b van der Vat, Dan (22 March 2004). "Queen Juliana of the Netherlands". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  4. ^ """CBC Digital Archives: "Netherlands' Princess Margriet born in Ottawa. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Queen & the Saucers". Time. 1 June 1959. Retrieved 27 April 2007. 
  6. ^ "The Netherlands: The Queen & the Saucers". Time. 1 June 1959. 
  7. ^ "Queen Beatrix to address the nation tonight; is she abdicating?". Dutch News. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  8. ^ (Dutch) [2], Lof na uitspraken prins over Juliana, 2 July 2001
  9. ^ "Nationaal Museum Paleis Het Loo - Juliana in beeld". Paleishetloo. 12 June 1981. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c H.M. (koningin Juliana) Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina (
  11. ^ Decree about the titles and names of the descendants of HM Queen Wilhemina – Website with Legislation concerning the Royal House of the Netherlands (Dutch)
  12. ^ Decree of granting the title "Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld" to HRH Prince Juliana – Website with Legislation concerning the Royal House of the Netherlands (Dutch)
  13. ^ Wet op het Kroondomein (BWBR0002752)
  14. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 111. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Quirinale website
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Benelux Royal
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links

  • Queen Juliana (1909-2004) at the Dutch Royal House website
Juliana of the Netherlands
Cadet branch of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Born: 30 April 1909 Died: 20 March 2004
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Queen of the Netherlands
6 September 1948 – 30 April 1980
Succeeded by
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