Royal News: Friday 23 June 2017

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Wedding of King Albert II of Belgium and Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria

by Scott Mehl

On July 2, 1959, King Albert II of Belgium, then the Prince of Liège, married Paola Ruffo di Calabria in Brussels. The civil ceremony was held at the Town Hall, followed by the religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula.

Albert’s Early Life

source: Belgian Monarchy

Prince Albert Félix Humbert Théodore Christian Eugène Marie was born on June 6, 1934 at Stuyvenberg Castle, the youngest of three children of King Leopold III and Princess Astrid of Sweden. He was given the title Prince of Liège at birth. His youth was spent during World War II when the family – his father, stepmother, older siblings and three younger step-siblings – were held under house arrest at the Castle of Laeken, where Albert and his siblings were educated privately. After the Allied landings in 1944, the family was moved to Germany, and then to Austria, before being freed by American forces in May 1945. Due to the uncertain political situation in Belgium – owed primarily to King Leopold’s actions during the war – the family settled in Switzerland where Albert continued his education in Geneva. Finally, in July 1950, the family returned to Belgium. Within a year of their return, King Leopold abdicated in favor of Albert’s older brother, Baudouin. Albert became the heir presumptive to the throne, as Baudouin was not married.

For more information about Albert see:

Paola’s Early Life

source: Belgian Monarchy

Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria was born September 11, 1937, at Forte dei Marmi in Italy, the youngest of seven children of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria and Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. Her father was a distinguished flying ace in World War I, and the family was very prominent in the Italian aristocracy. Through her mother’s family, she is a direct descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette.

Paola was raised in Rome, where she completed her secondary education in Latin and Greek and became fluent in several languages.

For more information about Paola see:

The Engagement

In November 1958, both Albert and Paola were in Rome to attend the coronation of Pope John XXIII. They first met at a reception held at the Belgian Embassy and were instantly smitten. Just a month later, On December 6, 1958, Albert proposed and Paola accepted. Two months later, he introduced Paola to his family, and finally, the engagement was announced on April 13, 1959. Following the announcement, the couple met with the press at the Palace of Laeken.

“The King, and King Leopold have the joy to share with the nation the engagement of HRH Prince Albert, Prince of Belgium, Prince of Liège, with Dona Paola Ruffo di Calabria, daughter of the late Prince Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, Duke of Guardia Lombarda and Princess Luisa Gazelli.”

Over the next several weeks, the couple visited several of the provinces of Belgium, where Albert introduced his future bride to the Belgian people.

British Pathé: Prince Albert Engagement (no sound)

Plans for a Vatican Wedding

Several days after the engagement, it was announced that the couple planned to marry at the Vatican on July 1, 1959, with the ceremony being officiated by Pope John XXIII. However, this was quickly met with resistance in Belgium, from both the government and the Belgian people. First was the fact that many people felt that a royal wedding should take place a home, to be a celebration for all the people. And there were also some legalities involved. The Vatican only recognizes religious marriage, while Belgium only recognizes civil marriage (and requires a civil marriage before a religious service can take place). There was also the issue of the groom’s aunt and uncle, the former King Umberto and Queen Marie-José of Italy who were banned from entering Italy. And due to the Vatican’s position within the city of Rome, it would require some almost clandestine efforts for them to be able to attend.

By the end of May, reports began to emerge that the plans were changing. The Pope – wanting to avoid any sort of diplomatic or political issue – decided that the wedding should take place at home. On June 2, it was announced by the Belgian government that the wedding – both civil and religious – would take place in Brussels on July, 2, 1959:

“Anxious to see all the Belgians united around the throne on the occasion of the marriage of HRH Prince Albert with Donna Ruffo di Calabria, His Holiness, John the XXIII, in a gesture of especial solicitude toward Belgium, deemed it desirable that the wedding of the Prince take place in Brussels. In agreement with the Government, His Majesty The King and the two families have decided in unity that the marriage ceremonies be held in this country.”

The following week, on June 9, Paola arrived in Belgium, accompanied by her mother. A garden party was held at the Castle of Laeken, where Albert and Paola greeted hundreds of invited guests from around Belgium, as well as members of the government.

Wedding Guests

The wedding was small by royal standards, with just 500 invited guests. Many of these were members of the government and diplomatic corps, along with Albert’s and Paola’s families, and several members of foreign royal and noble families. The guest list included:

The Groom’s Extended Family
King Baudouin of the Belgian – Albert’s brother
Dowager Queen Elisabeth of Belgium – Albert’s grandmother
King Leopold III of Belgium and Princess Lilian – Albert’s father and stepmother
Prince Alexandre of Belgium – Albert’s half-brother
Princess Marie Christine of Belgium – Albert’s half-sister
Princess Joséphine-Charlotte and Prince Jean of Luxembourg – Albert’s sister and brother-in-law
Queen Marie José and King Umberto II of Italy – Albert’s paternal aunt and uncle
Princess Maria Pia and Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia – Albert’s paternal first cousin and her husband
Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, Prince of Naples – Albert’s paternal first cousin
Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy – Albert’s paternal first cousin
Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy – Albert’s paternal first cousin

The Bride’s Immediate Family
Luisa Gazelli, Dowager Princess Ruffo di Calabria – Paola’s mother
Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria and Maria, Princess Ruffo di Calabria – Paola’s brother and sister-in-law
The Marquess and Marchioness of San Germano – Paola’s sister and brother-in-law
Baron and Baroness Ricasoli Firidolfi – Paola’s sister and brother-in-law
Antonello Ruffo di Calabria – Paola’s brother

Royal Guests
Royal guests included several members of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish royal families, all closely related through Albert’s mother, the late Queen Astrid (born a Princess of Sweden).

The Witnesses and Wedding Attendants

For their witnesses, Albert chose his brother Alexandre, and his brother-in-law, Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Paola chose her two brothers, Fabrizio and Antonello.

The bride’s attendants were two of her nieces (daughters of her elder sister, the Marchioness of San Germano), and Albert’s sister, Princess Marie Christine of Belgium.

The Wedding Attire

The bride wore a dress of heavy white satin with a 5-meter train and a bow at the waist. Her veil of Brussels lace was a family heirloom. It was first worn in 1877 at the wedding of her Belgian paternal grandmother, Laure Mosselman du Chenoy, and then later by her mother. It has since been used by Paola’s daughter and two daughters-in-law at their weddings. Instead of a tiara, Paola wore a cluster of orange blossoms which held the veil in place.

The groom wore his Naval uniform with the sash and star of the Order of Leopold, Belgium’s most senior order of chivalry. He also wore the collar of the Order of Malta.

The Civil Ceremony

The civil ceremony was held on July 2, 1959 in the Empire Salon of the Royal Palace of Brussels. The bride and groom led the procession, which included their immediate families and several invited guests. The brief service was conducted by the Mayor of Brussels, Lucien Cooremans. The bride was notable nervous, and at one point, the Dowager Queen Elisabeth stepped forward to comfort her with a kiss and some brief words. After the marriage register was signed, the couple emerged from the Palace to begin the procession through the streets of Brussels to the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula for the religious ceremony. Albert and Paola traveled in an open car adorned with pink and white roses and were preceded by several regiments of hussars and other military guards. The bride and groom waved to the thousands who had lined the route to cheer them on.

The Religious Ceremony

The couple arrived at the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula where the majority of their guests were already seated. The bride and groom processed down the aisle, followed by their families and royal guests, for the traditional Catholic service which was conducted by Cardinal Jozef-Ernest van Rooey, Primate of Belgium. As had happened at Albert’s sister’s wedding several years earlier, there was reportedly an argument within the family about who would take precedence in the procession. Albert’s step-mother, the Princess de Rethy, insisted that she should come first, but it was decided that his grandmother, the Dowager Queen, would take pride of place at the head of the procession, accompanying the reigning King Baudouin. The Princess de Rethy was instead escorted by King Umberto II of Italy.

Again the bride was notably nervous, and at times seemed overcome with emotion, but she was quickly reassured by her new husband. After exchanging their vows and rings, the Cardinal gave an address in which he referred to Paola as “a lovely princess”, and told her that “Italy sends you to Belgium as a ray of its beautiful sun and a reflection of its ardent soul.” The couple they were read a message from the Pope before the final blessing. The couple then processed out of the cathedral and were met with tremendous cheers from the crowds gathered outside.

Following a large banquet held that evening at the Castle of Laeken, the couple jetted off to Majorca, Spain for their honeymoon. Upon their return, they took up residence at the Château de Bélvèdere, on the grounds at Laeken.

British Pathé: Belgian Royal Wedding 1959

June 23: Today in Royal History

Maria Leszczyńska of Poland, wife of King Louis XV of France; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

June 23, 1703 – Birth of Maria Leszczyńska of Poland, wife of King Louis XV of France in Trzebnica, Lower Silesia (now in Poland)
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Leszczyńska of Poland, Queen of France

June 23, 1763 – Birth of Marie Josèphe Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie, better known as Empress Joséphine, first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, on Martinique in the West Indies
Unofficial Royalty: Joséphine de Beauharnais, Empress of the French

June 23, 1894 – Birth of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom at White Lodge in Richmond Park, Surrey, England
Full name: Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
Unofficial Royalty: King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor

Royal News: Thursday 22 June 2017

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Wedding of King George VI of The United Kingdom and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

by Susan Flantzer

Prince George, Duke of York (the future King George VI of the United Kingdom) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married on April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Prince Albert’s Family

HRH Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George was born on December 14, 1895, the anniversary of the death in 1861 of his great-grandfather Prince Albert. The baby’s father was George, Duke of York (later George V) and his mother was Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary). In his family, the new baby was always known as Bertie, but he was formally known as Prince Albert.

Queen Victoria received the news with mixed feelings. Her son, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) wrote to his son, the new baby’s father: “Grandmama was rather distressed that this happy event should have taken place on a darkly sad anniversary for us, but I think – as well as most of us in the family here – that it will break the spell of this unlucky date.”

Bertie had four brothers and one sister: Edward (1894) succeeded his father as Edward VIII, abdicated and was then styled HRH The Duke of Windsor; Mary (1897), later Princess Royal, married the 6th Earl of Harewood; Henry (1900), the Duke of Gloucester, married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott; George (1902), the Duke of Kent, married Princess Marina of Greece; John (1905) died of epilepsy complications in 1919.

In 1901, Bertie’s great grandmother Queen Victoria died and his grandfather succeeded her as Edward VII. Bertie’s father George was created Prince of Wales in 1901. When his grandfather died in 1910, Bertie’s father ascended the throne as George V. Bertie’s elder brother Edward (known in the family as David) was created Prince of Wales in 1911.

Bertie, as a second son, grew up without any specific training for the throne. Following the tradition for second sons in the Royal Family, he entered the Royal Navy in 1913 and saw action during World War I. In 1916 Bertie was created a Knight of the Garter and in 1920 he was created Baron Killarney, Earl of Inverness and Duke of York, the same titles his father had received in 1892. In 1936, Bertie ascended the throne as King George VI upon the abdication of his brother.

“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson

Lady Elizabeth’s Family

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on right, and her brother David, at St. Paul’s Waldenbury in 1905

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born on August 4, 1900, in London. She was the fourth daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (who succeeded his father as 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904) and Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck, a descendant of the Marquess Wellesley (brother of the Duke of Wellington) and the Kings of Ireland. Little Elizabeth bore the courtesy title of “Honorable” until her father became Earl when she exchanged it for “Lady.”

Elizabeth had three sister and six brothers: Violet (1882) died in childhood; Mary (1883) married Baron Elphinstone; Patrick (1884), the future Earl of Strathmore, married Lady Dorothy Osborne, the daughter of the Duke of Leeds; John Herbert (1886) married Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefuss; Alexander (1887) died unmarried; Fergus (1889) was killed in World War I; Rose (1890) married the Earl of Granville; Michael (1893) married Elizabeth Cator; David (1902) married Rachel Spender-Clay.

Elizabeth was brought up at Glamis Castle and educated privately. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Bertie’s sister Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles in 1922.

The Bowes-Lyon family is an old Scottish family. Robert II of Scotland granted Sir John Lyon the Thaneage of Glamis in 1372 as a reward for service. In 1376, Sir John married Joanna, a daughter of Robert II of Scotland. Their grandson Patrick was created Lord Glamis in 1445. The 9th Lord Glamis, also a Patrick, was created Earl of Kinghorne in 1606. His grandson, the 3rd Earl, obtained a charter in 1677 stating that he and his heirs “should in all future ages be styled Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Viscounts Lyon, Barons Glamis, Tannadyce, Sidlaw and Strathdichtie.” The 9th Earl married a Durham heiress, Mary Eleanor Bowes, and, as a condition of the marriage settlement, assumed the surname Bowes. Their sons, the 10th and 11th Earls and their grandson the 12th Earl adopted the surname Lyon-Bowes, but the 13th Earl reversed the order to the current Bowes-Lyon.

Glamis Castle,
Bowes Family of Brompton, Northallerton Yorkshire,
“The Queen” by Elizabeth Longford
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford

The Engagement

Engagement Portrait

Although they had met at a tea party in 1916, Bertie and Elizabeth had their first significant meeting on July 8, 1920 at the Royal Air Force Ball at the Ritz in London. Bertie had come to the ball with his equerry James Stuart, the youngest son of the Earl of Moray. Elizabeth and James were old friends from Scotland and shared a dance. Bertie questioned James about his dance partner and asked to be introduced. Although the meeting did not make much of an impression upon Elizabeth, Bertie fell in love that evening and started courting Elizabeth. He first proposed to her in 1921 and was rejected because Elizabeth feared the changes in her life being a member of the Royal Family would require. Elizabeth served as a bridesmaid in the wedding of Bertie’s sister Mary in February 1922. The following month, Bertie again proposed to her and was turned down once more. On January 2, 1923, after taking Elizabeth to dinner at Claridge’s and the theater, Bertie proposed a third time. After talking to friends and relatives and expressing her feelings in the diary, Elizabeth agreed to marry Bertie on January 14, 1923 although she still had misgivings.

“Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography” by William Shawcross
“The Queen Mother” by Elizabeth Longford

The Trousseau

Designers from New York, Paris, London, Rome and Australia contributed to Lady Elizabeth’s trousseau, which included 65 formal gowns, over a hundred morning, tea and evening dresses and 72 fur coats and hats.

The bride-to-be received some spectacular jewels. As an engagement ring, Bertie had given her a large dark oval sapphire from Kashmir surrounded by diamonds. Her father, the Earl of Strathmore, gave her a platinum and diamond tiara with five large roses of gems separated by sprays of diamonds. From King George V, she received a diamond ribbon bow brooch. Her godmother presented her with a diamond and emerald arrow. Bertie also gave her a diamond replica of the badge of his naval cap and a diamond cluster corsage brooch designed as a spray of flowers with three diamond pendants suspended from a chain of platinum.

“Thirty Years A Queen”, Geoffrey Wakeford
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Wedding Attire

The bride’s dress was designed by Madame Handley-Seymour of New Bond Street, London. It was a pearl embroidered gown of ivory tinted chiffon moiré. The veil was an old “point de Flandres” veil loaned by Queen Mary. The train was made of machine-made lace from Nottingham in support of industry instead of the traditional handmade lace. Lady Elizabeth wore a double strand of matched pearls around her neck. The bridesmaids’ dresses were made of white chiffon lace also from Nottingham. In their hair, they wore myrtle green leaves and a white rose with a sprig of white heather.


“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford

The Bridesmaids

Lady Elizabeth had an escort of eight bridesmaids. Her nieces Elizabeth Elphinstone, daughter of her sister Mary and the 16th Lord Elphinstone and 2nd Baron Elphinstone, and Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, daughter of her brother Patrick, the future 15th Earl of Strathmore, carried her train. The remaining bridesmaids were Lady May Cambridge, daughter of the1st Earl of Athlone (Queen Mary’s brother Alexander) and Princess Alice of Albany (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter); Lady Mary Cambridge, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Cambridge (Queen Mary’s brother Adolphus); Lady Katherine Hamilton, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Abercorn; Lady Mary Thynne, daughter of the 5th Marquess of Bath; The Honorable Diamond Hardinge, daughter of the 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst; and Miss Elizabeth Cator, who would marry Elizabeth’s brother Michael.

“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
Royal Genealogies,
Directory of Royal Genealogical Data,

The Ceremony

The wedding of HRH The Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was held on April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abbey, London. Before the ceremony, at Buckingham Palace, King George V bestowed upon Bertie the Most Ancient Order of the Thistle, the Scottish counterpart of the Garter, which he had received six years earlier.

The wedding procession started with the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, and the Primate of Scotland. The National Anthem was played followed by Elgar’s Imperial March. As the Royal Family entered the Abbey, the congregation rose. Princess Mary and her husband Viscount Lascelles appeared first followed by Prince George in midshipman’s uniform flanked by Queen Alexandra, the Queen Mother, and her sister Marie, the Dowager Empress of Russia. King George and Queen Mary followed. The King was wearing the full-dress uniform of an admiral. The Queen wore a silver and aquamarine gown with the sash of the Order of the Garter.

Bertie arrived at the Abbey with his brothers the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry. Bertie wore his Royal Air Force Group Captain’s uniform. The Prince of Wales wore a Welsh Guard uniform and Prince Henry wore a Hussar’s uniform. Their grandmother, Queen Alexandra, rose from her seat and embraced all three of her grandsons.

Cheers soon were heard announcing the bride’s arrival. Lady Elizabeth and her father entered the Abbey through the Great West Door. As Lady Elizabeth passed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, whose remains had been brought from France and buried in the Abbey floor three years earlier, she laid her bouquet of white roses on it. No doubt she was thinking of her brother Fergus and all the other British soldiers who died in World War I.

As Elizabeth proceeded down the aisle, the boys’ choir sang Lead Us, Heavenly Father. Randall Thomas Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury and Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of York waited at the altar to perform the marriage ceremony. After the vows were exchanged, the Archbishop of York addressed the couple: “The warm and generous heart of this people takes you today unto itself. Will you not, in response, take that heart, with all its joys and sorrows, unto your own?”

The choir sang Beloved, Let Us Love One Another, which had been composed by the Westminster Abbey organist Sir Sydney Hugo Nicholson for the wedding of Princess Mary the previous year. The newly-married couple proceeded up the Abbey aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.

“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford;
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Wedding Breakfast

The wedding breakfast was held at Buckingham Palace with the following menu: Consomme a la Windsor, Supremes de Saumon Reine Mary, Cotelettes d’Agneau Prince Albert, Chapons a la Strathmore, Jambon et Langue Decoupes a l’Aspic, Salade Royale, Asperges, Sauce Creme Mousseuse, Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth, Panier de Friandises, Dessert, Cafe.

Fourteen wedding cakes were made for the wedding breakfast. The most elaborate weighed 300 pounds and had nine tiers with a replica of the couple on top. On the first tier were reproductions of Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel. Glamis Castle appeared on the second tier and on the third tier were Masonic emblems in honor of Bertie and the Earl of Strathmore who were both Masons. Cupids ringing tiny silver wedding bells moved up and down ladders leading to the top of the cake. After the breakfast, the couple appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

“English Royal Cookbook” by Elizabeth Craig
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Honeymoon

During the first part of their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey, Surrey

The couple took the train from Waterloo Station, London to Dorking, Surrey where they stayed at Polesden Lacey, the home of society hostess Mrs. Ronald Greville. They continued their honeymoon with a visit to Glamis Castle where Elizabeth came down with whooping cough. When she recovered, the couple concluded their honeymoon at Frogmore House, Windsor.

“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
“The Queen” by Elizabeth Longford

Wedding of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg

by Emily

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg were married on March 10, 1966 in a civil ceremony at the City Hall in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a religious ceremony at the Westkerk also in Amsterdam.

Beatrix’s Family

Beatrix (far left) as a child with her mother and sisters Irene and Margriet during their Canadian exile

Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was born at Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands, on January 31, 1938. She was the first of four daughters of Princess Juliana, the heir to the throne of the Netherlands, and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Her second and third names are in honor of both of her grandmothers. When asked about the significance of his daughter’s first name, Prince Bernhard stated that he and his wife had simply liked it.

At the time of her birth, Beatrix’s grandmother Wilhelmina had been Queen of the Netherlands for nearly 50 years. Beatrix’s birth was welcomed by the Dutch people as the House of Orange was on the brink of extinction comprising of only Juliana and Wilhelmina. Beatrix’s younger sisters Irene, Margriet, and Christina followed in 1939, 1943, and 1947, respectively.

Beatrix spent her early life at Soestdijk with her family. World War II broke out in 1939; the German occupation of the Netherlands followed shortly after. Wilhelmina, Juliana, Bernhard, Beatrix, and infant Irene escaped to London for safety following the invasion. As London was frequently bombed at the time and in danger of possible German occupation, Juliana’s position as heir to the throne and the vulnerability of the children necessitated their move to a safer location.

Juliana, Beatrix, and Irene were moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in 1940. The family lived in Stornoway House, a home owned by a prominent Ottawa family which later became a property of the Canadian government. Margriet was born in Ottawa during the family’s exile. Beatrix and Irene attended Rockcliffe Park Public School and lived as peacefully as possible in difficult circumstances. Beatrix, her mother, and sisters returned to the Netherlands in 1945. A gift of several thousand tulip bulbs was sent from Juliana to Canada in appreciation for the country’s wartime hospitality, a tradition that has continued to this day.

Beatrix continued her education in Bilthoven (a village near Baarn) as the first Dutch royal to attend school with other children. Free from the tight security and formality of other European courts, Beatrix rode her bicycle to school from Soestdijk. Remembered by her classmates as jovial and approachable with a touch of mischief, young Beatrix was once given a lash across her hands at school after being caught placing a firecracker underneath the desk of the school janitor. After her grandmother’s abdication and mother accession in 1948, Beatrix became the heiress presumptive to the Dutch throne.

Beatrix then studied law and sociology at Leiden University, graduating in 1961. She had a romance of some seriousness during that time with a fellow Dutch student, but allegedly broke off the union at Juliana’s insistence. Beatrix also became an avid sailor and greatly enjoyed piloting The Green Dragon, a yacht given to her by the Dutch people on her eighteenth birthday. Beatrix also became a great fan of the arts, dabbling in sculpting and frequently attended theatrical productions and ballet in Amsterdam.

Throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Beatrix accompanied her mother (and later went on her own) touring the country she would one day rule. After her university graduation, Beatrix spent two years touring the Middle East, the United States, and various Dutch territories around the world.

Claus’ Family

Claus at age 12. Photo courtesy of Vivian Kramer.

Claus Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg was born to Claus Felix von Amsberg and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen at Haus Dotzingen (his uncle’s estate), near Hitzacker, Germany on September 6, 1926. The only son in the family, Claus had an older sister, Sigrid, and five younger sisters – Rixa, Margit, Barbara, Theda, and Christina. He spent part of his childhood in Tanganyika (now Rwanda), where his father operated a coffee plantation. At the age of 12, Claus returned to Germany and proceeded with his education at Baltenschule in Pomerania. He continued his studies until he was drafted into the Germany Army in 1942.

After joining the army, Claus served with the 90th Panzer Division, fighting in Italy during World War II. Claus was captured by Allied forces in May 1945. At the time of his capture, Allied forces determined Claus had no Nazi sympathies despite his being a member of Hitler youth groups. During his time in a prisoner of war camps in Italy and Britain, Claus served as a driver and an interpreter.

Following his release from Allied captivity, Claus began his studies of political science and law at the University of Hamburg. In 1953, while Claus was a student, his father passed away. Following his graduation in 1956, Claus practiced law briefly in Hamburg before entering the West German foreign service. He held positions in the Dominican Republic and Côte d’Ivoire before returning to Bonn.

During his time in the foreign service, Claus became an expert on the economic development of third world countries. Through his education and foreign service career, Claus became fluent in German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swahili, and later Dutch. At the time he met Beatrix, Claus was working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on fostering relationships with several African countries.

The Courtship

The photo of Beatrix and Claus at Drakensteyn that forced their relationship to be made public.

Beatrix and Claus initially met at the wedding of Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse in the summer of 1964. Tatiana’s brother Richard – also a friend of Claus – had long been mentioned as a possible suitor for Beatrix.

Claus and Beatrix met again in January 1965 at a ski resort in Gstaad, Switzerland, as guests of Prince Moritz of Hesse. In an amusing twist, Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg accompanied Claus on his trip, fueling the fire that Beatrix and Richard were romantically involved. However, an astute (and baffled) reporter following the story noticed that Richard was often seen skiing alone. Richard is believed to have accompanied Claus as a “decoy” to allow the couple to get to know one another away from intrusions. Within a week of this second meeting, Prince Bernhard began making private inquiries about Claus’ history and character.

The release of a photograph of Claus and Beatrix together at Juliana’s birthday in April 1965 piqued public interest in the couple. However, when asked about his relationship with the princess, Claus confirmed that he was acquainted with Beatrix, but stated that the idea of marriage was “inconceivable” and that he had no plans to marry anyone at that point.

A second photo of the couple walking hand in hand at Drakensteyn was released in May, appearing in British, then Dutch newspapers. Although Beatrix and Claus had hoped to keep their romance a secret for a bit longer, they released that speculation about the nature of their relationship would only increase following the release of the photos.


Beatrix and Claus during their engagement

Queen Juliana announced the engagement to the Dutch public via television on June 28, 1965 from the palace at Soestdijk. Beatrix said of the romance, “With us duty goes before sentimental considerations.” Juliana noted that the family understood that acceptance of the engagement may be difficult for Dutch citizens due to the war. Claus and Beatrix made additional radio and television appearance later in the day answering questions about the engagement and its political implications.

The announcement of the engagement was a surprise to most of the Dutch citizens who were unaware the two were so serious about one another. The couple noted several times that they had expected the engagement would draw criticism, but were confident in that their decision was a good one. When told of the engagement, Dutch Premier M. L. T. Cals reportedly uttered, “A German…what a pity.” However, after meeting with Claus, Cals had a good opinion of him. Cals then spoke in support of the couple and expressed hope that their happiness with one another would win over the Dutch public.

Beatrix and Claus met with members of the Dutch Cabinet and Parliament the day after the engagement was announced. Premier Cals confirmed that a bill would be introduced for parliamentary approval or disapproval of the marriage. This was required by the Dutch constitution in order for Beatrix to retain her place in the line of succession.

Public Reaction

A leaflet denouncing Claus as persona non grata in the Netherlands

With memories of the horrible experiences of the World War II occupation still fresh in the minds of many Dutch citizens, there was a significant public protest over Beatrix’s choice of a husband. As Claus was a former soldier and nominal member of the Hitler Youth (a requirement at the time for attendance at Claus’ school), the association with the Nazi party was particularly painful. Orange swastikas were painted on walls around Amsterdam as an ugly association between the House of Orange and Germany’s Nazi past.

Still, other Dutch citizens believed that Claus was simply an unimpressive candidate as a consort for their future queen. In addition to his WWII service, Dutch were concerned that Claus was too old for Beatrix, had little personal fortune, and was not of royal blood. The more republican dissenters began to raise the question of whether the monarchy was really beneficial to the country at all.

At least three separate protests were made to the Dutch government by members of academia, former Resistance leaders, and the clergy urging for rejection of the marriage bill.

In October 1965, several Dutch newspapers ran advertisements urging readers to sign the petition against approval of the marriage. The petition was signed by several prominent Dutch academics and members of the artistic community. A handful of Dutch Parliament members indicated their plan to vote against the bill.

Over 65,000 signatures were on the petition when it was submitted to the Dutch Parliament requesting denial of a bill approving the marriage between Beatrix and Claus due to his military service and association with the Nazi party. Approval of the bill was required by the Dutch Constitution for Beatrix to remain in the line of succession.

The Family’s Response

Claus, Beatrix, Juliana, and Bernhard discussing the engagement on television

Claus understood the Dutch objections to his membership in Nazi youth organizations as well as his service with the German Army during World War II. He explained that while he did not take an active stance against the Nazi Party, he also did not maintain active involvement in any organization with the group. In hindsight, Claus remarked, the Nazi rule had been incredibly harmful to the world. Similar regimes, he continued, should be avoided at all costs.

Claus also noted that he looked favorably on Prince Bernhard’s life as a consort to a queen regnant, indicating that he wished to assist Beatrix and the Dutch in much the same way as his prospective father-in-law had done for Queen Juliana. Claus’s military record was carefully examined by Dutch officials in order to identify any objectionable actions on his part. However, the investigation did not discover Claus’ participation in any activities deemed unacceptable for his future role as Beatrix’s consort.

Beatrix noted that if her parents or the Dutch government had demanded she give up Claus, she would have done so. For her part, Juliana said that she gave her full support to Beatrix and her fiancé and that she was glad the couple followed their hearts despite any expected backlash from the public. Juliana also remarked that she had no intentions of abdicating the throne to Beatrix anytime soon.

Prince Bernhard, a German who had also initially been distrusted by the Dutch public, praised his future son-in-law, noting that in time the Dutch citizens would understand that Claus was an excellent person who would be an asset to his new country. Prince Bernhard further noted that he “could not think of a better husband for [his] daughter.”

In addition to his extensive knowledge of various languages, Claus began learning Dutch while dating Beatrix. He also began touring the Netherlands and meeting with the people, alone or accompanied by his fiancée. At the time of the wedding, he was reported to speak the language “…fairly well, and with a good accent.” Claus’ positive interactions with the Dutch people eventually made him a very popular member of the royal family.

Wedding Preparations

Beatrix and Claus greeting supporters during their engagement

The bill for Beatrix’s permission to marry Claus passed the lower house of the Dutch Parliament in November 1965, with 132 yeas and 9 nays. The house also approved the extension of Dutch citizenship for Claus on the day of the wedding. The bill passed the upper house the following month.

The wedding date was set for March 10, 1966, at the Westerkerk, a large church located not far from the building that hid Dutch Jewish teenager Anne Frank during World War II. The choice of Westerkerk was unique in that it had never before hosted a royal wedding. Nieuwe Kerk, a church near the palace and a more obvious choice, was undergoing significant renovations at the time that would not be completed before the wedding.

Beatrix herself reportedly oversaw many of the details of the wedding and related celebrations. Plans were made to televise the religious ceremony in the Netherlands, a first for Dutch royal weddings. Beatrix requested that a red light indicator be placed in Westerkerk as a sign of when the television cameras would be on her.

On February 17, 1966, Claus and Beatrix registered their upcoming marriage in Baarn. The couple received a gift of silver salt cellars made in Amsterdam upon registering their marriage. The gift was presented to Beatrix and Claus by Burgermaster F.J. van Beeck Calkoen on behalf of the city of The Hague. Schoolchildren in Amsterdam were released early for the day in celebration of the event. Most of the children flocked to the town hall to wave at the couple and the accompanying television cameras.

After the registration, Beatrix and Claus toured The Hague via horse-drawn carriage. Later that day, a gala celebrating the engagement in was held in The Hague. The couple attended the gala with their families and about 700 dignitaries.

The wedding banns were published on the same weekend in The Hague’s Hall of Knights. In celebration of the event, small bags of candy attached to parachutes were released from the ceiling as part of a Dutch tradition. Claus himself took part in the fun diving for the falling candy. The couple then attended a special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Dutch government agreed to contribute 1.5 million guilders ($420,000 American) for wedding expenses. The city of Amsterdam provided approximately $220,000 American, while the rest of the cost was covered by Beatrix’s family and private donations.

The Dutch government did not release postage stamps commemorating the event (common for royal weddings), claiming that sufficient time had not been allowed to create the stamps. However, the Netherlands Antilles did release a single stamp in celebration of the event. The stamp featured a pair of lovebirds standing on a pair of wedding rings encircling the letters B and C.

Celebrations in Amsterdam

Claus, Beatrix, and Beatrix’s family at a ball celebrating the engagement

The 300 official guests of the royal family were treated to an Amsterdam canal cruise on the afternoon of March 9. Guests also enjoyed trips to Rijksmuseum and tours of the Netherlands diamond cutting and polishing factories. Beatrix and Claus attended a concert held by children from each of the eleven provinces of the Netherlands during this time.

A ball in honor of the couple was held at the Royal Palace that evening. The event was attended by over 400 guests, and included an uninvited reporter who snuck in intending to get clandestine shots of the couple. It was Beatrix herself who noticed the journalist, who was immediately escorted out of the party.

The Wedding Ceremonies

Beatrix, Claus, and families on their wedding day. Photo from the Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection.

On March 10, 1966, as required by Dutch law, Beatrix and Claus were married at a civil ceremony prior to the religious service. The couple traveled first to the Amsterdam Town Hall in the 1898 golden coach used for the coronation of Beatrix’s grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina. The Westerkerk bells rang and canons fired as the two made their way to the hall.

Orange, blue, and red flowers representing the Dutch flag decorated the interior of the Amsterdam Town Hall. The brief ceremony, conducted by Mayor Dr. Gijsbert Van Hall, concluded with Beatrix, Claus, and their witnesses signing the marriage certificate in front of a group of personal guests.

The coach carrying Beatrix and Claus continued from the town hall to the religious wedding at the renovated Westerkerk. The procession was about a mile in length, shorter than most other royal weddings. This was due in part to the caution over possible unrest and concern for the safety of the couple, their guests, and spectators.

Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard, and Mrs. von Amsberg traveled to the wedding in a glass coach, while eleven cars carried various royal guests.

An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 spectators lined the streets to watch the processional. The crowd was unusually light for a royal wedding. People were kept home possibly due to the controversy surrounding Claus, the cool and rainy weather, and television broadcast.

Claus and Beatrix entered the church to the French hymn of “A toi la glorie,” set to music by Handel.
The signed marriage certificate from the civil wedding was presented to the clergy at the start of the religious service. The ceremony was conducted by Reverend Johannes Hendrik Sillevis Smitt, who urged the couple not to take the outcry over their wedding to heart. Reverend Hendrik Jan Kater conducted the closing prayer, calling for God to look after everyone, and for greater understanding between the Dutch Christian and Jewish populations.

Beatrix and Claus whispered and smiled to one another several times during the 75 minute religious service. The word “obey” was not used during the civil or the religious ceremony, possibly due to Beatrix’s prominent status or to the changing views on a woman’s role within marriage. When Beatrix had difficulty putting on Claus’ ring, he pushed it on the rest of the way himself and the two shared a chuckle.

There was also some interest in the wedding within Canada as Beatrix had lived in the country as a young child. Canada was also rumored to be a possible honeymoon destination for the couple. Rallies were held in some of the larger Canadian cities to celebrate the event.

After the religious wedding, the couple entered the 1898 coronation coach and headed back to the royal palace, waving to spectators along the way.

Wedding Day Protests

Smoke bombs thrown in protest of the wedding

Given the mixed public opinions a threat of violence on the wedding day, several additional security and safety precautions were established. Physicians in Amsterdam were requested to stand by in case protests escalated into violence. In addition, the blood types of all of the wedding guests were recorded in the assurance that supplies would be stocked accordingly.

An estimated seven smoke bombs were thrown by a group of 1,000 young protesters at the wedding. One of the bombs went off just before the golden coach passed, causing a horse to jerk. However, the horse recovered its gait quickly. The smoke was not said to be hazardous and dissipated almost immediately. Another bomb was set off just as the couple left the church.

An estimated 8,000 soldiers and police officers were brought in to control crowds and prevent wedding-related violence. These included plain clothes officers who mingled in the crowd looking for any signs of unrest. Prior to the wedding, the Dutch police requested use of the Anne Frank House as a temporary police post due to its close proximity to Westerkerk. The Anne Frank House refused.

Police had to remove a small barricade of bicycles across the road included in the route, a symbolic move made by the protesters at the German seizure of Dutch bicycles during World War II. 
There were also reports of protesters unsuccessfully attempting to rush at the royal procession. Nineteen arrests were also made in connection with the protests. No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but one of the protesters received non-life-threatening injuries in a skirmish with the police.

Wedding Attire

Beatrix and Claus on their wedding day

Beatrix had made a name for herself in the years before her wedding as one who generally ignored trendy French fashion houses. She made no exception to this in planning the design and assembly of her wedding dress, choosing largely unknown Dutch designer Caroline Berge-Farwick of Maison Linette. Berge-Farwick was known to be a favorite of Queen Juliana’s and was known for designing single pieces of clothing specific to her individual clients rather than offering seasonal collections.

Beatrix wore a square-necked gown of white silk and satin duchesse with a 16-foot train falling from the waist. The dress featured three-quarter length sleeves, a fitted waist, and a bell-shaped skirt with white velvet trim. Hints of the scrollwork from the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara were incorporated into the embroidery on the dress, which Beatrix herself assisted in the design. All of the cloth used was made especially for the dress in St. Etienne, France.

Beatrix’s mid-length white tulle veil was attached to the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, brought to the Dutch royal collection via Sophie of Württemberg (first wife of Willem III of the Netherlands). The tiara may have come with Sophie in its complete form, or as loose gems that were later used in its assembly. The tiara remains one of the grandest of the Dutch collection and features numerous large pearls set among diamond-studded spikes. It was also worn by Beatrix’s grandmother Wilhelmina at her enthronement.

On her left side, Beatrix wore a pearl and diamond brooch that was also created for Sophie. She also carried a bouquet of white eucharis and lilies of the valley, both common flowers used for spring weddings. The floral creations for the wedding were designed by Dutch designer Abel Verheijen, who later became famous for his art all over Europe. The wedding marked the first of many occasions in which Mr. Verheijen would provide his floral designs for Dutch royal events, including Beatrix’s 1980 inauguration.

The six bridesmaids wore long satin dresses with straight skirts and matching lace jackets with half-length sleeves. The dresses were light blue, mint green, or lavender, with two bridesmaids wearing each color. Each bridesmaid also donned feathered headpieces and elbow-length white gloves during the service. The two flower girls wore short sleeved white satin dresses with circlets of white flowers in their hair. The pages wore black trousers, ruffled white shirts, and wrist-length white gloves.

Claus, wisely forgoing his military uniform, wore a morning coat with striped trousers, a grey vest, and grey trousers.

The Wedding Attendants

Beatrix and Claus with their bridesmaids on their wedding day

For her six bridesmaids, Beatrix chose a mix of relatives, fellow royals, and close friends. Four bridesmaids carried and arranged Beatrix’s train, while the two remaining bridesmaids took charge of the pages and flower girls. The six bridesmaids were:

  • Christina of the Netherlands, Beatrix’s youngest sister.
  • Christina of Sweden, a granddaughter of Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden.
  • Christina von Amsberg, Claus’ sister.
  • Lady Elizabeth Anson, a stepdaughter of Prince George Valdemar of Denmark and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Joanna Roell, a friend of Beatrix and daughter of a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Juliana.
  • Eugenie Loudon, a Dutch noble and friend of Beatrix.

The page boys were Joachim Jencquel and Markus von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff.

 The flower girls were Daphne Stewart Clark and Carolijn Alting von Geusau.

The couple also had several prominent witnesses to the signing of the marriage certificate at the civil ceremony. These witnesses were:

  • Prince Ernst Aschwin of Lippe-Biesterfeld, the bride’s uncle.
  • Willem Drees, former Dutch premier and leader of the Dutch Resistance movement during WWII.
  • Princess Alexandra of Kent
  • Count Ferdinand von Bismarck
  • Julius von dem Bassche Haddenhausen

Wedding Guests

Beatrix and Claus with some of their royal guests

Approximately 1600 guests attended the religious ceremony at Westerkerk, with a small portion being present at the civil service as well. About 20 of the 45-member Amsterdam City Council did not attend the wedding out of protest for Beatrix marrying a German. In addition, two Amsterdam rabbis invited to the wedding refused to attend due to the treatment of Dutch Jews by Nazi occupiers.

In a somewhat unusual circumstance, few crowned heads of Europe attended the wedding celebrations. Of those who did, the majority were younger monarchs. Additionally, several of the missing monarchs were represented by their children or other younger members of their families. The following royal and family guests attended the religious wedding:

Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
Mrs. Gosta von Amsberg
Princess Marina, Dowager Duchess of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent (representing Elizabeth II)
Crown Prince Harald of Norway
Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
Prince Charles of Luxembourg
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians
King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
Princes Carlos Hugo and Princess Irene of Bourbon-Parma
Princess Christina of the Netherlands
Princess Benedikte of Denmark
Princess Christina of Sweden
Infante Juan Carlos and Infanta Sofia of Spain
Princess Alexandra of Kent and Sir Angus Ogilvy
Prince Albert and Princess Paola of Liege
Infanta Pilar of Spain
Christina von Amsberg
Prince Karim Aga Khan
Princess Armgard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Princess Margaretha of Sweden and Mr. John Ambler
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and fiancé Pieter van Vollenhoven
Prince Aschwin and Princess Simone of Lippe-Biesterfeld

Princess Irene of Greece
Prince Richard of Sayn- Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Bull, the Canadian ambassador to the Netherlands and his wife

The presence of Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma was initially doubted due to the controversy over his marriage with Beatrix’s sister Irene several years before. Additionally, it was rumored that Juan Carlos and Sophia of Spain would not attend either. The word had been that Juan Carlos was angry over the Dutch response to the Bourbon-Parma/Netherlands wedding, although other reports indicated that Juan Carlos had fallen ill with the flu just before the start of the celebrations. In any event, all of the Spanish royals in question did attend with no further reports of trouble.

Pamela’s Story

Pamela at the wedding with her chaperone, Gerda Mus

Pamela Sue Smith, a 12-year-old girl from Patchogue, New York, chose Queen Juliana when assigned to prepare a school report on a famous person. Pamela wrote to Juliana as a requirement for the project and received a standard reply from a Dutch lady-in-waiting. Pamela
then sent additional letters, which also received replies.

An overexcited Pamela then started a rumor at her school that she would be attending the upcoming Dutch royal wedding. The rumor gained strength among her classmates and their families, and within a day Pamela had received congratulations from all over town. The local chamber of commerce even proposed sending with Pamela a bottle of locally-made perfume to give to Beatrix as a gift.

When the mayor of Patchogue contacted Washington to inquire about a passport for the “wedding guest,” a horrified Pamela confessed that she had not actually been invited to the wedding. By this time, Onno Leebaert, director of the Netherlands Tourist Association, caught wind of the story and decided to make it a reality for Pamela. Mr. Leebaert was able to provide a complimentary airline ticket and secure an official invitation to the wedding for a very excited girl. He praised Pamela for her honesty in coming clean about the original rumor.

On March 8, Pamela left for Amsterdam in the company of Gerda Mus, an employee of the tourist association. Upon her return, Pamela lamented her height, noting that while she was able to see the processional quite well, it was difficult to watch the actual ceremony with so many adults in front of her. Pamela said that she liked the windmills and canals in Amsterdam, and even learned a few Dutch words on her trip. She was especially surprised to see her own picture in the office window of a Dutch news association. Pamela returned home to Patchogue, tired and happy, with several souvenirs, including a Dutch lace cap.

After the Wedding

Beatrix and Claus waving on the balcony of the palace after the wedding

The completion of the wedding ceremonies made Claus a Prince of the Netherlands, excluding any rights of succession to the throne. A personal allowance of $80,000 was also awarded to him. Castle Drakensteyn was undergoing remodeling at the time to accommodate the new couple.

After arriving at the palace, Beatrix and Claus stepped out onto the balcony to wave to a crowd of about 200,000 spectators. The balcony was decorated with bunches of white tulips in celebration of the occasion.

Following the wedding, Beatrix released a statement thanking those who had sent gifts and well-wishes. She also acknowledged those who were opposed to the union with the following words: “That not all can rejoice in this marriage is a fact we recognize and understand. [We know] that many of you had to bear fathomless sorrow in the past and suffered irreparable losses. It is this background that deepens our feeling of gratitude.”

In a happy epilogue to the story of Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg acting as a decoy during the Beatrix’s and Claus’ courtship, at the wedding Richard met Princess Benedikte of Denmark for the first time. After spending time dancing and chatting during the wedding festivities, the
couple began dating. Their engagement was announced in 1967, and the couple married the following year.


Claus and Beatrix on their honeymoon

Early projected honeymoon destinations were Tanzania (the area where Claus spent part of his childhood), Canada, or the Dutch West Indies. Prior to the wedding, an anonymous royal source claimed that while the couple was not planning to vacation in the United States, they would be heading “westward” from the Netherlands.

The couple honeymooned in Mexico, dividing their time between Acapulco and the island of Cozumel. While in Cozumel, Beatrix and Claus stayed in a villa owned by former Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos. While visiting Acapulco, the couple stayed at the estate of Jorge Mendes, a Mexican financier. Both Lopez Mateos and Mendes were friends of the Dutch royal family.

In a statement later released by the US State Department, Beatrix and Claus were first flown first to the United States via a KC-135 military jet. The jet was said to be returning to the US from Germany when it made a stop in Frankfurt, West Germany, allowing the couple to board. The statement also noted that Beatrix and Claus were only able to fly on the military jet as space was already available. The request for transport had been initially made by Queen Juliana through diplomatic channels.  After landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, the couple then boarded a second military plane to Laredo, Texas, and onto Mexico.

Due to guidelines at the time, passengers were required to pay $1 more per person for flight in a military plane if commercial flights were available. After Dutch airlines KLM totaled the cost of service for two passengers on the Frankfurt/District of Columbia/Laredo route, it was discovered that the couple had been overcharged by $7.88 for the service. There were no reports of the family demanding reimbursement.


I would like to thank Vivian Kramer for permitting the use of her photo of Claus as a child, and Marlene Koenig for allowing the use of her photo of Beatrix, Claus, and families on their wedding day.

Additionally, the photo of Pamela Sue Smith and Gerda Mus as the wedding appears courtesy of Koninklijke Bibliotheek/The Memory of the Netherlands. The original photograph can be found here.

June 22: Today in Royal History

King George V of the United Kingdom; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

June 22, 1000 – Birth of Robert I the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy in Normandy (France)
Robert was the father of William the Conqueror.
Wikipedia: Robert I the Magnificent

June 22, 1658 – Birth of Ludwig VII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt in Darmstadt (Germany)
Wikipedia: Ludwig VII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt

June 22, 1911 – Coronation of King George V of the United Kingdom
George’s wife Mary of Teck was crowned with him.
Unofficial Royalty: Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary
Unofficial Royalty: King George V of the United Kingdom
Unofficial Royalty: Coronation of King George V

June 22, 1961 – Death of Maria of Romania, Queen of Yugoslavia
Unofficial Royalty: Maria of Romania, Queen of Yugoslavia

Breaking News: Prince Philip admitted to the hospital

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Buckingham Palace released the following statement: “The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London last night, as a precautionary measure, for treatment of an infection arising from a pre-existing condition. Prince Philip is in good spirits and is disappointed to be missing the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot. The Prince of Wales will accompany The Queen to the State Opening. Her Majesty is being kept informed and will attend Royal Ascot as planned this afternoon.”

The Queen’s son Prince Charles, Prince of Wales accompanied his mother to the State Opening of Parliament which had been previously been planned with less pomp.  The Queen did not wear her usual robes and did not wear the crown.

Breaking News: New Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince replacing his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef as the heir apparent. The new Crown Prince previously was the Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense.  He will continue to serve as Minister of Defense and now will also be Deputy Prime Minister.

Since the formation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the six kings that followed the first king Abdulaziz have all been chosen from among his 45 sons. Mohammad bin Salman would be the first king from the next generation.

BBC: Saudi king’s son Mohammed bin Salman is new crown prince

Royal News: Wednesday 21 June 2017

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