Prince Claus of the Netherlands (Claus van Amsberg)

Photo Credit – “Prince Claus of the Netherlands 1986″ by Croes, Rob C. / Anefo – [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.06 Bestanddeelnummer 253-8984. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 nl via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prince_Claus_of_the_Netherlands_1986.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Prince_Claus_of_the_Netherlands_1986.jpg

Prince Claus of the Netherlands, was the husband of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg was born on 6 September 6, 1926 at Haus Dötzingen, his family’s estate near Hitzacker, Germany. He was the only son of the seven children of Klaus von Amsberg, a member of the German Niederer Adel (lower nobility), and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen.

Claus had six sisters:

  • Sigrid von Amsberg (born 1925), married in 1952 to Bernd Jencquel, had issue
  • Rixa von Amsberg (born 1927 – 2010), married to Peter Ahrend
  • Margit von Amsberg (born 1930 – 1988), married in 1964 to Ernst Grubitz, had issue
  • Barbara von Amsberg (born 1930), married in 1963 to Günther Haarhaus, had issue
  • Theda von Amsberg (born 1939), married in 1966 to Baron Karl von Friesen, had issue
  • Christina von Amsberg (born 1945), married in 1961 to Baron Hans Hubertus von der Recke, had issue

In 1928, the family moved to the former German colony of Tanganyika (later Tanzania), where his father was manager of a coffee and sisal plantation. In 1933, Claus and his sisters were sent to live with their maternal grandmother in Lower Saxony, Germany. He attended the attended the Friderico-Francisceum-Gymnasium in Bad Doberan, Germany from 1933 to 1936 and a German boarding school in Lushoto, Tanganyika from 1936 to 1938.

In 1938, Claus and his mother moved back to Germany and he attended Balt Schule, a boarding school in Misdroy, Pomerania, Germany (now in Poland). Claus then moved back with his maternal grandmother in 1943 and again attended the Friderico-Francisceum-Gymnasium. He joined the German Youth and later, the Hitler Youth.  Membership in both organizations was compulsory for eligible boys.

Claus was drafted into the German Wehrmacht in 1944. He trained with an armored division from August 1944 – March 1945. Claus then became a soldier in the German 90th Panzergrenadier Division in Italy in March 1945, but taken as a prisoner of war by the American forces at Merano, Italy before taking part in any fighting. Claus was sent to a prisoner of war camp at Ghedi, Italy where he worked as an interpreter and a driver. In September of 1945, he was sent to Camp Latimer, an American internment camp in England and again served as an interpreter. In December of 1945, Claus was released and returned to his birthplace Hitzacker, Germany.

Claus was able to finish his secondary education in Lüneburg, Germany and studied law at the University of Hamburg, graduating in 1952. After an internship in the United States and for a short period at a law firm, where he was worked with the restitution of Jewish Germans in West Germany, he chose a new direction, diplomacy. He passed the necessary exams, and worked in the West German embassies in the Dominican Republic and the Ivory Coast. In 1963, Claus went to work in the West German capital of Bonn at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Section for Economic Relations with Africa south of the Sahara.

On New Year’s Eve in 1962, Claus met Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the heir to the Dutch throne, at a party with friends in Bad Driburg, Germany. The couple met again at the wedding eve party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, in June of 1964. Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg acted as a go-between for the couple and did much to strengthen their relationship.

On May 1, 1965, a photographer took a photo of the couple in the gardens at in the garden of Drakensteyn Castle and their relationship became public. The fact that he was a German national, had been a member of the Hitler Youth, and had served in the Wehrmacht, caused great controversy among the Dutch people. Among other protests, orange swastikas were painted on walls around Amsterdam as an ugly association between the House of Orange and Germany’s Nazi past. Queen Juliana gave her permission to the marriage although she had given serious thoughts to not allowing it. The Dutch parliament debated long and vehemently about the proposed marriage. Only after the historian Loe de Jong had established that Claus was not to blame for any war crimes, was the marriage approved. On December 10, 1965, Claus received a Dutch passport and on February 16, 1966, his name was officially changed to Claus George Willem Otto Frederik Geert van Amsberg.

 

Claus and Beatrix were married on March 10, 1966, at the Westerkerk, a large church just down the street from the building where Dutch Jewish teenager Anne Frank hid during World War II. The ride to and from the church was disrupted by riots with smoke bombs and firecrackers. According to some newspapers, there were about a thousand rioters chanting “revolution” and “Claus get out”. Claus was granted the style and titles His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg.
Unofficial Royalty: Wedding of Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg

 

After their marriage, Claus and Beatrix lived at Drakensteyn Castle and Claus began to learn Dutch. In the first year of his marriage, Claus kept in the background. The first time he was the center of attention was when he came to register the birth and name of his eldest son at the Utrecht city hall and then gave a short televised speech to the Dutch people.

Claus and Beatrix had three sons:

  • King Willem-Alexander (born April 27, 1967) married 2002 Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, had three daughters
  • Prince Friso (September 25, 1968 – August 12, 2013) married 2004 Mabel Wisse Smit in 2004, had two daughters
  • Prince Constantijn (born October 11, 1969) married 2001 Laurentien Brinkhorst, has two daughters and a son

 

Over the years, Claus became accepted by the Dutch public and during the last part of his life he was considered the most popular member of the Dutch Royal Family. Claus remained fascinated by Africa, and was appointed Chairman of the National Commission for Development Strategy, a publicity organization for the development African policy of the government. On April 30, 1980, Queen Juliana abdicated and Beatrix became Queen. The family moved to Huis ten Bosch, a royal palace in The Hague. On June 10, 1981, Claus was appointed regent in case Queen Beatrix died before their eldest son reached his 18th birthday.

 

Claus suffered from various health issues. In 1982, Claus was diagnosed with depression and spent some time in the hospital. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Claus underwent successful surgery for prostate cancer in 1998, but the radiation for the cancer caused urinary tract problems. In 2001, a kidney was removed and he had problems with the other kidney. Respiratory infections kept him in the hospital during the spring of 2002, shortly after the wedding of his eldest son Willem-Alexander. On August 9, 2002 he had a coronary angioplasty. Prince Claus, aged 76, died on October 6, 2002 at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands from Parkinson’s disease and pneumonia. He was buried in the crypt of the royal family in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.

Photo Credit – “Funeral of Prince Claus of the Netherlands” by Looi from nl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Funeral_of_Prince_Claus_of_the_Netherlands.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Funeral_of_Prince_Claus_of_the_Netherlands.jpg

Wikipedia: Prince Claus of the Netherlands

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January 29: Today in Royal History

Tomb of King Christian IX of Denmark and his wife; Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer, 2011

January 29, 1601 – Death of Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, wife of King Henri III of France, at Moulins, Allier in France; first buried at was buried at the Convent of the Capuchins, re-interred in 1817 next to her husband in the Saint Denis Basilica
Wikipedia: Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont

January 29, 1749 – Birth of King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
Wikipedia: Christian VII of Denmark

January 29, 1820 – Death of King George III of the United Kingdom at Windsor Castle; buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle
Wikipedia: George III of the United Kingdom

January 29, 1844 – Death of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in Gotha (Germany)
Ernst was the father of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.  He was also Queen Victoria’s uncle.
Wikipedia: Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

January 29, 1860 – Death of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, wife of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden, in Nice, France
Wikipedia: Stéphanie de Beauharnais

January 29, 1906 – Death of Christian IX of Denmark at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark; buried at Roskilde Cathedral
King Christian was the father of King Frederick VIII of Denmark, King George I of Greece, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.  He was as much the “grandfather of Europe” as Queen Victoria was the grandmother. His grandchildren sat upon the thrones of Denmark, the United Kingdom, Russia, Greece and Norway.  Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, King Harald of Norway, King Albert II of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Queen Sofia of Spain and former King Constantine of Greece are among his many descendants.
Wikipedia: Christian IX of Denmark

January 29, 2000 – Wedding of Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein and Angela Brown, civilly in Vaduz, Liechtenstein on January 21, 2000 and religiously in New York City at St. Vincent Ferrer Church on January 29, 2000
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein
Wikipedia: Angela Brown

Royal News: Thursday 29 January 2015

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January 28: Today in Royal History

King Henry VIII of England; Photo Credit – WIkipedia

January 28, 814 – Death of Charlemagne at Aachen, Germany; buried at the Aachen Cathedral
Wikipedia: Charlemagne

January 28, 1271 – Death of Isabella of Aragon, wife of King Philip III of France; buried at the Basilica of St. Denis
Wikipedia: Isabella of Aragon

January 28, 1457 – Birth of King Henry VII of England at Pembroke Castle, Wales
Wikipedia: Henry VII of England

January 28, 1547 – Death of King Henry VIII of England at Whitehall Palace, London; buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle
Wikipedia: Henry VIII of England

January 28, 1768 – Birth of King Frederik VI of Denmark and Norway at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
Wikipedia: Frederik VI of Denmark

January 28, 1845 – Death of Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia, first wife of Adolphe of Nassau, the future Grand Duke of Luxembourg, in childbirth at Castle Biebrich in Wiesbaden; buried at the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Elizabeth in Wiesbaden (Germany)
Wikipedia: Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia

January 28, 1941 – Death of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, in exile, in Rome, Italy; first buried at Church of Santa Maria di Monserrato, the Spanish national church in Rome, in 1980 his remains were transferred to San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Spain
Wikipedia: Alfonso XIII of Spain

January 28, 1941- Birth of Susan Cullen-Ward, wife of King Leka I of Albania, pretender to the Albanian throne, in Waverley, Sydney, Australia
Wikipedia: Susan Cullen-Ward

January 28, 1950 – Birth of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, in Riffa, Bahrain
Unofficial Royalty: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain

Royal News: Wednesday 28 January 2015

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Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales

Credit – Wikipedia

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg, the second youngest of the 19 children of Friedrich II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Magdalene Auguste of Anhalt-Zerbst, was born on November 30, 1719 in Gotha (Germany).   In 1736, at the age of 16, and still very young for her age, clutching a doll, and knowing no English, Augusta arrived in England for her marriage to Frederick, Prince of Wales, the son of King George II.  On May 8, 1736, after having a dinner with Frederick and his siblings, Augusta was led up the aisle of the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace by her future brother-in-law William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, to marry her 29 year old groom.

The newlyweds were strictly controlled by Frederick’s parents who did not allow them to set up their own household.  Augusta only spoke German and a little French, so a tutor was arranged to teach her English.  Because she was so lonely, her old governess was brought to England to keep her company.  Having been brought up as a Lutheran, Augusta had misgivings about receiving communion in the Church of England.  She was only persuaded to do so when her mother-in-law threatened to annul her marriage and send her back home.

Frederick and Augusta had nine children including King George III who succeeded his grandfather King George II and Caroline Matilda, Queen Consort of Denmark whose marriage was a tragic story.

During Augusta’s first pregnancy in 1737, King George II and Queen Caroline demanded to be present at the birth, but Frederick would not hear of it.  Augusta and Frederick were at Hampton Court Palace having dinner with Frederick’s parents when Augusta went into labor.  They took a bumpy carriage ride to St. James’ Palace to prevent the grandparents from being present at the birth.  Afterwards, the king ordered them to leave St. James’ Palace and they moved to Kew Palace.  The queen paid a visit to Frederick and Augusta before they left St. James’ Palace and expressed a wish that she never see them again.  Queen Caroline got her wish as she died several months later without reconciling with her son and daughter-in-law.

After Queen Caroline’s death, the couple’s life was somewhat less tense and despite several fleeting affairs, Frederick was a good husband and father.  In early 1751, Frederick’s health began to be a concern and on March 31, 1751, he died at the age of 44.  His death was  attributed to a burst abscess in his lung, but a ruptured aneurysm seems more likely.

At the time of Frederick’s death, his 32 year old widow was pregnant with her ninth child.  Augusta spent her years as a widow raising her nine children and improving the gardens at Kew Palace, which today are a world class botanical garden.  Her eldest son George succeeded his grandfather as king in 1760.  Augusta died of cancer of the throat in 1772 at the age of 52 and was buried at Westminster Abbey

Wikipedia: Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

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Royal News: Tuesday 27 January 2015

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Princess Grace of Monaco

photo: Wikipedia

Princess Grace of Monaco

Princess Grace of Monaco was the wife of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and mother of the current Prince Albert II. She was born Grace Patricia Kelly in Philadelphia on November 12, 1929. She was the third of four children of John B. Kelly Sr. and Margaret Majer. Her siblings were Margaret (“Peggy”), John B. Jr, and Elizabeth (“Lizanne”). Two of her paternal uncles – Walter Kelly and George Kelly – had been vaudeville actors. George went on to becoming a prominent playwright, earning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1926. He would also be instrumental in Grace’s future career.

Grace was raised in Philadelphia, and attended Ravenhill Academy. She later enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City (thanks to a little help from her uncle George). During this time, Grace worked as a model, earning enough to pay her own tuition. She made her Broadway debut in 1949 in The Father, and was later cast in a television version of Sinclair Lewis’ Bethel Merriday. Appearing in over 60 television productions, Grace was soon noticed and began her film career. Her first film was Fourteen Hours in 1951, in a very small role. However, while visiting the set, Gary Cooper took notice of Grace.

The following year, she was offered the role of Amy Fowler, co-starring with Cooper in High Noon. 1953 brought the film Mogambo which earned Kelly her first Academy Award nomination. 1954 saw Grace appearing in five major films – Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, The Country Girl, Green Fire, and The Bridges at Toko-Ri. Grace went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1954, for her role in The Country Girl. In 1955, she took the last of her roles with Alfred Hitchcock, starring in To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant, and her last two movies were released in 1956 – The Swan (released on Grace and Rainier’s wedding day), and High Society (released several months later).

 

In 1955, Grace attended the Cannes Film Festival, and was introduced to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. A relationship soon developed, in and December of that year, Rainier visited Grace and her family in Philadelphia. The couple’s engagement was announced in January 1956. Grace and her family sailed to Monaco aboard the SS Constitution, arriving on April 12th. The couple were married in a civil ceremony held in the Throne Room at the palace on April 18th. The following day, a large religious ceremony was held at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. As a condition to being released from her contract with MGM, Grace had allowed the studio to film the two ceremonies. The Wedding of Monaco was later screened around the world. Following the religious ceremony, the couple then drove to the Sainte-Dévote Chapel, where following tradition, Grace left her bridal bouquet in tribute to the patron saint of Monaco. After a seven week honeymoon cruising the Mediterranean on Rainier’s yacht, the couple settled back into the Palace and soon began their family. Three children would be born:

Having given up her acting career, Princess Grace threw herself into her new role as Princess of Monaco. She learned the language in just a few months, and quickly became much loved by the Monegasque people. A huge fan of AS Monaco, she designed a new logo for their uniforms, which was used until 2013. She also began her extensive philanthropic work. In 1963, she founded the World Association of Children’s Friends (AMADE Mondiale), and the following year established The Princess Grace Foundation. Her interest and support of the arts continued, with the establishment of the Princess Grace Ballet Academy. She also served as President of the Monaco Red Cross until her death.

In addition to her work with various organizations, Grace was instrumental in helping to bring about many of her husband’s advancements in the small principality. Her “star power” brought new attention to Monaco, and Rainier often credited his wife for helping to turn the once-small gambling resort into the thriving country it has become.

Through the years, Grace continued to miss acting, and had several opportunities to return to the screen. In 1962, Hitchcock approached her to star in his new movie, Marnie. With Rainier’s full support, she agreed to take on the role. However, the Monegasque people were against the idea of their Princess acting in a film, and Grace decided to decline the offer. Another offer would come in 1970, but this time her husband was adamantly against the idea. Needing a creative outlet of her own, Princess Grace later began giving poetry readings, and even narrated several documentaries. This allowed her enjoy some of her former life, and also gave her an opportunity to raise funds for her foundation and other charities. She also established Monaco’s Garden Club, indulging in another of her lifetime interests.

Despite all of her other interests, Grace felt that her first and most important role was being a mother to her children. Fiercely protective of them, she oversaw their education and did everything possible to ensure they were raised as normally as possible. Perhaps a meddling mother at times, she also allowed them to make their own decisions… and mistakes. To this day, all three of the couple’s children work tirelessly to ensure that their mother’s legacy continues – through her charitable organizations as well as exhibits around the world about Grace’s life.

 

Sadly, that life would come to a tragic end. On September 13, 1982, while driving back to Monaco from their home in France, Princess Grace suffered a stroke. The car veered off the road, and both Grace and Princess Stephanie were severely injured. Flown back to the hospital in Monaco, Grace never regained consciousness, having suffered major internal injuries. The following day, on September 14th, at 10:55pm, Princess Grace of Monaco passed away. Her funeral was held several days later at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, attended by many royal representatives from around the world, as well as many of Grace’s old friends from Hollywood. Following the funeral, she was buried at the Cathedral.

After Grace’s tragic death, Prince Rainier named Princess Caroline as the new president of the Princess Grace Foundation. Caroline also saw that many of her mother’s projects were finished. This included the Spring Arts Festival which began in 1984, and the formal establishment of the Monte Carlo Ballet in 1985. Caroline continues to this day to spearhead many of her mother’s charities and organizations.

Grave of Princess Grace of Monaco, Saint Nicholas Cathedral. photo: Wikipedia

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January 27: Today in Royal History

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, with his father Kaiser Frederick III of Germany at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1863

January 27, 1708 – Birth of Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Peter I (the Great) and Empress Catherine I of Russia, mother of Tsar Peter III, in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Anna Petrovna died at age 20, several days after giving birth to her son.
Wikipedia: Anna Petrovna of Russia

January 27, 1773 – Birth of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, son of King George III of the United Kingdom, at Buckingham Palace
Wikipedia: Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex

January 27, 1836 – Death of Wilhelmine of Baden, wife of Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine
Wikipedia: Wilhelmine of Baden

January 27, 1859 – Birth of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, King Of Prussia, at Berlin, Germany
Full name: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht
Unofficial Royalty: Wilhelm, German Emperor, King of Prussia

January 27, 2001 – Death of Marie José of Belgium, wife of King Umberto II of Italy, at Geneva, Switzerland; buried at the Cistercian Abbey of Hautecombe in Savoy, France
BBC: Italy’s last queen dies
Wikipedia: Marie José of Belgium

Royal News: Monday 26 January 2015

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Monaco
Hello: Princess Charlene of Monaco: 10 facts about Prince Albert’s wife on her 37th birthday

UK
BBC: Prince Philip receives knighthood from Australia
BBC: The camera that captured readers’ lives
WA Today: Duke worthy recipient of knighthood: PM
Daily Mail: Australia’s knighting of Prince Philip prompts puzzlement
Daily Mail: Australia knights Prince Philip, sparking national outrage
Daily Mail: Frankie Boyle comeback show axed by BBC over sick joke about IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten
Daily Mail: Prince reveals injury to his ear as he attends church for Sunday sermon, while the Queen brings a burst of colour to wintry Norfolk with bright fuchsia coat and matching hat
Daily Mail: On the march again: English Civil War Society bring to life the royalist King’s Army and retrace Charles I’s route to the scaffold
Daily Mail: Abbott defends Philip knighthood
Daily Mail: Australia PM in ‘time warp’ as British royal knighted
Daily Mail: Former Defence Force chief who led the search for missing MH370 named Australia’s newest knight… while Prince Philip is also given the nod
Daily Mail: Who would have thought it? Princess Beatrice and boyfriend Dave Clark holiday with Jimmy Carr and Jamie and Louise Redknapp in St Barts
Express: Mamma Mia! Zara Phillips passes love of horses to daughter
Express: Princess Beatrice relaxes in St Barts days after Prince Andrew denies sex claims
Express: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge irritate locals by ‘blinging up’ historic weathervane
Getty Images: Zara Phillips Attends Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point
Guardian: The Aristocrats: why knighting Prince Philip is a joke at Australia’s expense
Guardian: Tony Abbott admits colleagues not consulted on Prince Philip knighthood
NY Post: It’s time for Prince Andrew to man-up
Telegraph: Tony Abbott mocked after making Prince Philip a knight of Australia

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