Beatrix was the Dutch Queen from 1980 until 2013. After abdicating the throne to her son Willem-Alexander, her official title is Princess but many still refer to her as Queen. Beatrix has three first names and her full name is: Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, Prinses der Nederlanden, Prinses van Oranje-Nassau, Prinses van Lippe-Biesterfeld.
Born in Baarn on January 31, 1938, Beatrix was Queen of the Netherlands from April 30, 1980 until April 30, 2013. She is the oldest child of Queen Juliana der Nederlanden and Prince Bernhard van Lippe-Biesterfeld, and, since 2002, widow of Prince Claus der Nederlanden.
Beatrix was born British and Dutch
Beatrix is a straight descendant of Sophia van de Palts. According to the Sophia Naturalisation Act from 1705, all of Princess Sophia’s direct descendants automatically become British. Beatrix never claimed her British citizenship and never acquired a British passport, but she was still 942nd in line to the British throne. The Dutch royal family went to great lengths to avoid that Beatrix’ sister Margriet would have double citizenship.
Refugees during World War II
Two and a half years after Beatrix was born, the Germans invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. Queen Wilhelmina (Beatrix’s grandmother), Queen Juliana, Prince Bernard and Princess Beatrix fled to Canada via the United Kingdom where they resided for the duration of the war. Beatrix’s sister Margriet was born in Canada in 1943. In order to avoid Canadian citizenship, the room in which Margriet was born was officially declared to be outside of Canadian jurisdiction. This way she could return to the Netherlands with only Dutch citizenship.
Beatrix was never a big fan of technology
In 2008 Beatrix still had never used a computer, and she didn’t like mobile phones. At one point she was given a phone with pre-programmed numbers for her three sons: one for Willem-Alexander, one for Friso and one for Constantijn. The first time she used her mobile she interrupted Friso in the middle of a meeting, and she apparently did not like to use her phone very much after this.
Royal Dutch controversy
Amsterdam’s Jewish population protested against using the city as the site for the 1966 marriage ceremony of Beatrix to Claus. Claus was German and had been a member of the Hitler Youth. The ceremony was held in the Westerkerk (around the corner from the Anne Frank house). During the celebratory tour through Amsterdam in the royal golden horse carriage, bystanders ignited smoke bombs to voice their discontent.
More facts about Princess Beatrix
- In 2007, Beatrix was named one of the richest royals in the world by Forbes magazine. She once gave her friend Queen Elizabeth II a horse as a gift.
- Beatrix is a distant cousin to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and she is godmother to his daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
- People close to Beatrix called her "Trix".
- Beatrix was a heavy smoker but did her best to hide her habit from the public eye.
- The name Beatrix is Latin and means "she who makes happy".
- Beatrix has many things named after her: streets, schools, ships, a park, a harbour, a canal and even a state mine.
- While queen, Beatrix celebrated Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) on April 30, even though her actual birthday is on January 31.
- The last Queen's Day was celebrated in 2013. Since 2014, the Netherlands celebrates King's Day (Koningsdag) every year on April 27.
Video about Princess Beatrix
Photo copyright: RVD/Jeroen van der Meyde