Beatrix of the Netherlands
Learn more about Beatrix of the Netherlands
|Queen of the Netherlands|
|Reign||30 April 1980 - Present|
|Born||January 31, 1938|
|Consort||† Claus von Amsberg|
|Issue|| Prince Willem-Alexander |
|Father||† Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands|
|Mother||† Juliana of the Netherlands|
Queen Beatrix (I) of the Netherlands (born as Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Oranje-Nassau, Prinses der Nederlanden, Prinses van Oranje-Nassau, Prinses van Lippe-Biesterfeld) (born January 31, 1938), has been the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since April 30, 1980.
 Early life
Queen Beatrix is the oldest daughter of the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Prince of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Her godparents are King Leopold III of Belgium, Duke Adolphe of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (brother of her maternal grandfather Prince Hendrik), Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, and Allene Countess de Kotzebue.
When the Queen was a young girl, the Dutch royal family fled the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II, moving to Britain in May 1940 and then to Ottawa, Canada. The family lived at Stornoway. She attended Rockcliffe Park Public School, during their exile in Canada. The royal family returned home in 1945.
In Canada, Princess Beatrix 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. In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, part of Baarnsch Lyceum, where she passed her school-leaving examinations in arts subjects and classics in 1956.
On January 31, 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.
Princess Beatrix began her university studies the same year, at Leiden University. In her first years at university, she attended lectures 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, 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.
 Political involvement and marriage
Her appearance on the political scene was almost immediately marked by controversy. In 1965, Princess Beatrix became engaged with the German aristocrat Claus von Amsberg, a diplomat working for the German Foreign Office. Her marriage to him caused a massive protest during the wedding day at Amsterdam on 10 March 1966. Prince Claus had served in the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht and was, therefore, associated by a part of the Dutch with German Nazism. Protests included the memorable slogan "I want my bicycle back," a reference to the memory of occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles. On a less peaceful note, a smoke bomb was thrown at the wedding carriage by a group of Provos causing a violent street battle with the police. As time went on, however, Prince Claus became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy and his 2002 death was widely mourned.
An even more violent riot occurred on 30 April 1980, during the investiture (sovereigns of the Netherlands are not crowned as such) of Queen Beatrix. Some people, including anarchist squatters, used the occasion to protest poor housing conditions in the Netherlands and against the monarchy in general. Clashes with the police and security forces turned brutal and violent. The latter event is reflected in contemporary Dutch literature in the books of A.F.Th. van der Heijden. After the 1977 election there was some difficulty in forming a coalition “the Queen sent for the three leaders together and some hours later unanimous advice was publicised: ‘thanks to the Queen the deadlock was overcome’”
 Queen of the Netherlands
On 30 April 1980, Beatrix became Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands when her mother abdicated. She approaches her role as Queen with more formality than Queen Juliana, and many admire her professionalism. While the Dutch monarchy remains extremely popular, in recent times the Dutch media have openly criticized the royal family. The Dutch media has also published many "tabloid" stories, similar to the stories that have plagued the House of Windsor for decades. Some Dutch subjects view the monarchy as an ongoing "soap opera," rather than an institution that plays an important role in Dutch society. As a result, 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.
As Queen, Beatrix wields more power than most of Europe’s reigning monarchs. In domestic matters, she has little political say; however, in international relations, the Queen has much more latitude. It was once reported that she threatened to dismiss a cabinet minister if he turned down her request to open a Dutch embassy in Jordan.
On 6 October 2002, Queen Beatrix's husband died after a long illness. A year and a half later, her mother died after a long battle with senile dementia, while her father succumbed to cancer in December 2004.
Beatrix is rarely quoted directly in the press, since the government information service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst) makes it a condition of interviews that she may not be quoted. This rule was introduced shortly after her inauguration, reportedly to protect her from political complications that may arise from "off-the-cuff" remarks. It does not apply to her son Prince Willem-Alexander.
On 8 February 2005, Beatrix received a rare honorary doctorate from Leiden University. Rare, because the Queen usually never accepts such honours. In her acceptance speech she reflected on the monarchy and her own 25 years as Queen.  The speech was broadcast live...
It is not known if Beatrix will follow the example of her mother and grandmother and abdicate. Those closest to her have stated that she has never seriously talked about abdication.
On 19 April and 30 April 2005, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her reign. She was interviewed on Dutch television, was offered a concert on Dam Square by the city of Amsterdam, and a celebration took place in The Hague, the country's seat of government.
 Personal Wealth
According to a 2005 Forbes Web Site report, the Queen's personal wealth is estimated at $4.7 billion. If this estimate is indeed accurate, it makes her one of the richest people in the world. It is also believed, however, that the Queen's assets are tied up in stakes in Royal Dutch Petroleum (now 60% of Royal Dutch Shell), among other companies.
Paintings, historical artifacts and jewellery belonging to the House of Orange are usually bound up with the performance of royal duties and have a certain cultural value. This property has been placed in the hands of trusts: the House of Orange-Nassau Archives Trust and the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust. Part of the collection is on permanent loan to Het Loo Palace Museum in Apeldoorn and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The regalia (crown, orb, sceptre, sword of state, royal banner, and ermine mantle) have been placed in the Crown Property Trust. The Trust also holds the items used on ceremonial occasions, such as the carriages, table silver, and dinner services. Placing these goods in the hands of a trust ensures that they will remain at the disposal of the monarch in perpetuity.
The Royal Archives comprise the personal archives of the royal family as well as their library, photographic archives, and art collection. The library encompasses the books of the House of Orange-Nassau and the music library. The library was begun in 1813, following the return of the Orange-Nassaus to the Netherlands. King Willem I allowed the Stadholder’s library to remain part of the Royal Library in The Hague. The library houses a collection of some 70,000 books, journals and brochures. The music library has 6,000 scores, going back to the mid-1700s.
Expenditure on the Royal House is governed by or pursuant to the Royal House Finances Act 1972. There are three categories of expenditure: allowances paid to the Queen, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima, totalling some €5.6 million in 2006. Official expenses are incurred in the performance of official duties and are included in the budget of the most relevant ministry. They will total some €22.5 million in 2006. Other expenses relate to the management of the Royal Household. Under the Royal House Finances Act, they are not included in the budget of the Royal Household. They will total some €71.7 million in 2006.
The Queen and her late husband, Prince Claus, have three sons:
- Prince Willem-Alexander, The Prince of Orange and his mother's heir apparent (born 1967)
- Prince Friso (born 1968)
- Prince Constantijn (born 1969)
Queen Beatrix and her late husband, Prince Claus, have seven grandchildren:
- Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, second in line to the throne, after her father
- Princess Alexia of the Netherlands
- Countess Eloise of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg
- Count Claus-Casimir of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg
- Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg
- Countess Luana of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg
- Countess Zaria of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg
"Beatrix, by the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, etc. etc. etc."
The triple 'etc.' refers to the title Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld and the following titles formerly borne by the princes of Orange. These being dormant titles, they are retained in the masculine form.
- Marquis of Veere and Vlissingen
- Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam, and Culemborg
- Viscount of Antwerp (now in Belgium)
- Baron of Breda, Diez, Beilstein, the town of Grave and the lands of Cuijk, IJsselstein, Cranendonk, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstal, Warneton, Arlay and Nozeroy
- Hereditary Lord and Seigneur of Ameland
- Lord of Besançon (now in France), Borculo, Bredevoort, Bütgenbach, Clundert, Daasburg, Geertruidenberg, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, 't Loo, Lichtenvoorde, Montfoort, Naaldwijk, Niervaart, Polanen, Steenbergen, Sint-Maartensdijk, Sankt Vith, Soest, Ter Eem, Turnhout, Willemstad, and Zevenbergen.
The Queen signs official documents "Beatrix" and is addressed as "Your Majesty" (Dutch: "Uwe Majesteit"). Queen Beatrix' mother Queen Juliana frowned upon this title. She preferred to be addressed as "Mevrouw", Dutch for Madam. Queen Beatrix surprised the Dutch people by re-introducing the Royal Style of Majesty when addressing her; actually, addressing her as "Mevrouw" is also accepted.
Queen Beatrix is Grand Master of the Military Order of William (Militaire Willemsorde) and the other Dutch Orders of Merit. She is an Extra Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a Dame of the Order of the Elephant (Elefantordenen) and has received numerous other medals and decorations. Queen Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, Aruba is named after Queen Beatrix.
- See also: Line of succession to the Dutch Throne
 Prime Ministers of the Netherlands during The Queen's reign
- Dries van Agt (1977-1982)
- Ruud Lubbers (1982-1994)
- Wim Kok (1994-2002)
- Jan Peter Balkenende (2002-present)
 External links
| House of Orange-Nassau|
Born: 31 January 1938; Died:
|Queen of the Netherlands|
Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange
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