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Queen of the Netherlands, 1980-2013

Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was born at the Soestdjik Palace in Baarn, Netherlands, on January 31, 1938, and baptized at the Great Church in The Hague on May 12, 1938. She was the first child of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biersterfeld.

Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard with Princess Beatrix, in February 1938.
Princess Beatrix with her parents, February 1938

On September 6, 1948, Princess Juliana succeeded Wilhelmina as Queen of the Netherlands, and Princess Beatrix became the heir presumptive. She became a member of the Council of State upon her 18th birthday, on January 31, 1956.

Princess Beatrix soon after she turned 18.
Princess Beatrix at age 18

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. Following her basic education, Princess Beatrix entered Leiden University, where she studied history, sociology, jurisprudence, economics, and law. She passed her preliminary examination in law in the summer of 1959, and obtained her law degree in July 1961. Her studies during this time also included visits to several European and international organizations, as well as to the United States.

Princess Beatrix flies in a helicopter to attend a NATO air display at Soesterberg, 1958.
Beatrix attending an air review

A cadet guides Princess Beatrix around the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1959.
Princess Beatrix at West Point

On June 28, 1965, the engagement of Princess Beatrix to the German diplomat Claus von Amsberg was announced. Following the consent of Parliament to the marriage, Claus von Amsberg became a Dutch citizen, and upon his marriage, on March 10, 1966, became Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg. Three sons were born to the union: Willem Alexander (1967), Johan Frisco (1968), and Constantijn (1969).

Newlyweds Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus wave to well-wishers from a balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus after their wedding

The Princess and Prince with their first son, Willem Alexander.
Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus with their first son,Willem Alexander

A blacksmith inadvertently kisses his own hand as Princess Beatrix offers her own hand during a visit to the 600-year-old city of Woerden in October 1972.
Princess Beatrix gets a kiss from an admirer

Princess Beatrix became Queen Beatrix upon the abdication of her mother, on April 30, 1980.

Queen Beatrix takes the oath, with her husband at her side.
Beatrix takes the oath to become Queen of the Netherlands

Prince Claus died on October 6, 2002. The Queen's mother, Princess Juliana, died on March 20, 2004, after a long bout with senile dementia. Her father, Prince Bernhard, died of cancer on December 1, 2004.

Queen Beatrix and her father follow the casket bearing the remains of Princess Juliana.
Queen Beatrix and Prince Bernhard at the funeral of Princess Juliana

Following the tradition set by her grandmother and mother, Queen Beatrix abdicated exactly 33 years after assuming the throne, on April 30, 2013. Her eldest son became King Willem Alexander that same day.

Beatrix following her abdication, with her successor, Willem Alexander, and his wife, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti.
Beatrix following her abdication

See Also

Princess Juliana

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The Robinson Library >> 19th-20th Centuries

This page was last updated on 02/10/2019.