Queen Beatrix

Her Majesty Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard by the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands

Princess Beatrix was born at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn as eldest daughter of prince Bernard von Lippe-Biesterfeld and Queen Juliana (1909-2004). The family lived in Baarn until May 1940. For two years after her birth, Beatrix played around in the Soestdijk Palace. With the German invasion of the Netherlands, they left for the United Kingdom and from there, Beatrix and her younger sister Princess Irene (born 1939), moved with their mother, Juliana, to Ottawa in Canada. They lived in Canada for five years before they went back to The Netherlands on 2 August 1945. The second sister, Princess Margriet was born in Canada in 1943 and the third sister is Christina.

Beatrix attended nursery and primary school in Canada. On their return to the Netherlands, she continued her primary education at De Werkplaats (The Workshop), a progressive experimental school in Bilthoven. In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, part of Baarnsch Lyceum, and in 1956 passed her school-leaving examinations in arts subjects and classics.

Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday on 31 January 1956. Under the provisions of the Constitution of the Netherlands, she was, from that date, entitled to assume the royal prerogative. Also from that date she was installed in the Council of State.

In 1956 she became a student at Leiden University, and in her first years at Leiden she attended classes in sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law. In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch colonies), the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law, history and European law.

While she was still a student, Beatrix visited various European and international organisations in Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris and Brussels. She was an active member of the Leiden Women Students’ Association. In 1959 she passed her preliminary examination in law, and obtained her degree in July 1961.

In 1961 she succeeded the doctoral examination and began to enter the duties that will be expected of her in the future. She was now seen in public, performing official duties, some where she acted on her mother’s behalf  both at home and abroad. In 1963 she decided to live on her own at Drakensteyn in Lage Vuursche, a former “Ridderhofstad” (place of accommodation for Knights) dating from 1640.

On 28 June 1965 Princess Beatrix, the heiress to the Dutch throne, got engaged to Claus George Willem Otto Frederik Geert von Amsberg, a German diplomat. The Lower House of the States General passed a bill introduced by the government consenting to the marriage on 10 November 1965. The bill was then passed by the Upper House on 8 December 1965. The Mayor of Amsterdam in the City Hall conducted the civil marriage ceremony on 10 March 1966, and the marriage took place during a service in the Westerkerk (Wester Church). During this occasion, Claus von Amsberg received the title of Prince of the Netherlands and the designation Jonkheer van Amsberg.

Three sons were born – Prince Willem-Alexander in 1967, Prince Johan Friso in 1968 and Prince Constantijn in 1969. The eldest son, Willem Alexander, will succeed her under the name of Willem.

Queen Juliana signed the act of abdication and Princess Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands on 30 April 1980. This date became a National Day (Koninginnedag). Beatrix views her duties as Queen very seriously, and makes a proper study of the affairs of state. Her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands passed away at the AMC university hospital in Amsterdam on 6 October 2002.

Hereditary titles of Queen Beatrix:

  • Her Majesty Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard by the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands
  • Princess of Orange-Nassau
  • Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld
  • Marchioness of Veere and Flushing
  • Countess of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam, and Culemborg
  • Viscountess of Antwerp
  • Baroness of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the city Grave and the land of Cuyk, IJsselstein, Cranendonk, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstal, Warneton, Arlay and Nozeroy
  • Hereditary and Suzerain Dame of Ameland
  • Dame of Borculo, Breedevoort, Lichtenvoorde, Het Loo, Geertruidenberg, Clundert, Zevenbergen, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, Sint-Maartensdijk, Soest and Baarn