“It must be wonderful sport to contradict each other.” — Queen JulianaJuliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina was born on this day in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1909. Today is the 104th anniversary of her birth.
She is the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Duke Henry of the House of Orange-Nassau. As a child she lived at the HetLoo, Noordeine and the Huis ten Bosch Palaces. A class room was built in the palace, and Juliana and three other royal children were educated there.
At 18 she was named Council of State.
She attended the University of Leiden where she studied international law. She graduated three years later in 1930.
She met her husband to be, a German, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld at the 1936 Winter Olympics. Bernhard became a Dutch citizen, changed his name to Bernard, and the couple were married on January 7, 1937.
They had two daughters with in two years, Princess Beatrix in January of 1938 and Princess Irene in 1939.
As World War II loomed and Germany invaded the Netherlands (on May 12, 1940) the Royal family left the country for England. Bernard and Queen Wilhelmina stayed in Great Britain — the official Dutch Government in exile, Juliana and the children went to Ottawa,Canada. There she had her third daughter Margriet in 1943.
She returned to the Netherlands in August of 1945. As president of the Dutch Red Cross she worked tirelessly to help with post-war relief.
She had her last child, Marijke Christina in 1947. Juliana had contracted German measles during the pregnancy and the baby was partially blind when born.
Queen Wilhelmina abdicated the throne to Juliana on September 6, 1948. One of Juliana’s first acts as queen was to recognise Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, as a sovereign country.
Queen Juliana related to the every day Dutch people on many levels. She dressed like an ordinary Dutch woman, rode a bicycle (a Dutch obsession) and prefered to be addressed as Mrs as opposed to Majesty.
Juliana showed her metal in 1953 when a 100 year storm ravished the country. It flooded towns, killedtwo thousand and stranded thousands more. She pulled on her boots and an old coat and toured the effected area, comforting the victims of the disaster.
On her 71st birthday, Queen Juliana abdicated the throne to her eldest daughter Beatrix. For a decade and a half after her abdication she was active throughout the country in charitable activities, but by 1995 her health began to fail. Juliana had Alzheimer’s and became more and more reclusive. She died in her sleep on Marcy 20, 2004. She had been suffering from pneumonia.
Today, April 30, 2013, Queen’s Day, her daughter Queen Beatrix abdicated to her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander.
- Dutch Queen Beatrix to abdicate (bbc.co.uk)
- Abdicating Dutch queen was a wartime Ottawa schoolgirl (cbc.ca)