Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina Armgard of Orange-Nassau (31 January 1938)
is the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
She is the daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.
When Beatrix was a young girl, the Dutch royal family
fled the Netherlands when the Germans invaded on 10 May 1940.
The family moved to Britain and then to Ottawa, Canada. They returned home in 1945.
Princess Beatrix had attended nursery and primary school. On her return to the Netherlands,
she continued her primary education at The Workshop (De Werkplaats), Kees
Boeke's progressive school in Bilthoven. On 31 January 1956
Princess Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday. From that date, under the Constitution
of the Netherlands, she was entitled to assume the royal prerogative. At that time, her
mother installed her in the Council of State.
Beatrix began her university studies the same year, at Leiden University In her
first years at university, she attended lectures in sociology, 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, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands,
international affairs, international law, history and European law.
While at university, the Princess visited various
European and international organisations in Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris, and Brussels.
She was also an active member of the Leiden Women Students' Association. In the
summer of 1959, she passed her preliminary examination in law, and she obtained
her law degree in July 1961.
March 1966 she married the diplomat
Claus von Amsberg. Initially, there was quite some opposition to the marriage.
With fresh memories of the Second World War, a part of the Dutch people didn't
appreciate a German prince. As time went on, however Claus became one of the
most popular members of the Dutch monarchy and his death in 2002 was widely
They had three sons: Willem-Alexander (1967), Johan
Friso (1968) and Constantijn (1969).
On 30 April 1980 Beatrix became Queen of
the Kingdom of the Netherlands when her mother abdicated. She exercises her function with more
formality than Queen Juliana. She has a lot of supporters because of her
professionalism, but during the 1990s criticism increased. Beatrix's current
challenge is to keep the Dutch monarchy modern, efficient and most of all in
tune with the wishes of the Dutch people. It is expected that like her two
predecessors, Beatrix will not remain on the throne for life, and instead
respectfully abdicate when she is confident her son is ready to assume the
In 1970, when she was still crown princess, Beatrix was the first Dutch
youth representative to the UN General Assembly. In her last year as princess
she was president of the National Committee for the International Year of the
Queen Beatrix officially opened the Youth United
Nations in The Hague on 26
January 1983. Her son Willem-Alexander
was one of the delegates. She is also honorary president of UNICEF Netherlands.
In 1959 princess Beatrix paid an unofficial visit to
UN Headquarters. The photo shows the princess in the Delegates Private Dining
Room with Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and General Assembly President
Victor A. Belaunde (Peru) (UN Photo 140642).
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife visited the
Queen in The Hague on 18
May 1999 (UN Photo 21140), followed by
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 1 February 2007 (UN Photo 138456).
The official biography of
Queen Beatrix at the Dutch Royal House website.
Aruba 31 January 2008
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last revised: 27 February 2010