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Beatrix (Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard; born 31 January 1938) has been the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 30 April 1980, when her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated.

Early life

Beatrix as an infant in 1938 with her mother
Princess Beatrix was born as Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, of Orange-Nassau and of Lippe-Biesterfeld on 31 January 1938 at the Soestdijk Palacemarker in Baarnmarker, Netherlandsmarker. She is the eldest daughter of Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Beatrix's five godparents are King Leopold III of the Belgians, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, Princess Elisabeth zu Erbach-Schönberg, Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, and Countess Allene de Kotzebue. When Beatrix was one year old, in 1939, her first sister Princess Irene was born.

When World War II broke out in the Netherlands in May 1940, the Dutch Royal Family fled to Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker. One month later, Beatrix went to Ottawamarker, Canadamarker with her mother Juliana and her sister Irene, while her father Bernhard and maternal grandmother Queen Wilhelmina remained in London. The family lived at the Stornoway residencemarker. Her second sister Princess Margriet was born in 1943. During their exile in Canada, Beatrix attended nursery and the primary school Rockcliffe Park Public Schoolmarker.

The family returned to the Netherlands on 2 August 1945. Beatrix went to the progressive primary school De Werkplaats in Bilthovenmarker. Her third sister Princess Christina was born in 1947. On 6 September 1948, her mother Juliana succeeded her grandmother Wilhelmina as Queen of the Netherlands, and Beatrix became the heir presumptive to the throne of the Netherlands at the age of ten.


In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, a part of Baarnsch Lyceum, where, in 1956, she passed her school-graduation examinations in the subjects of arts and classics.

On 31 January 1956, Princess Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday. From that date, under the Constitution of the Netherlands, she was entitled to assume the Royal Prerogative. At that time, her mother installed her in the Council of State.

The same year, at Leiden University her university studies began. In her first years at the university, she studied sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law. In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Surinamemarker and the Netherlands Antillesmarker, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law, history and European law.

The Princess also visited various European and international organisations in Genevamarker, Strasbourgmarker, Parismarker, and Brusselsmarker. She was also an active member of the VVSL (Female Union for Students in Leiden), now called L.S.V.Minerva. 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 to the German aristocrat Claus von Amsberg, a diplomat working for the German Foreign Office. Their marriage caused a massive protest during the wedding day in Amsterdammarker 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 population with German Nazism. Protests included such memorable slogans as "Claus 'raus!" (Claus out!) and "Mijn fiets terug" (Give me back my bike), a reference to the memory of occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles. 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 socialist squatters, used the occasion to protest against poor housing conditions in the Netherlands and against the monarchy in general, using the also memorable slogan "Geen woning; geen Kroning" (No house; no coronation). 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.

Queen Beatrix is a member of the Bilderberg Group and an honorary member of the Club of Rome.

Queen of the Netherlands

On 30 April 1980, Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands when her mother abdicated. 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 Jordanmarker.

On 6 October 2002, the Queen's husband, Prince Claus 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 policy 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, an honour the Queen does not usually accept. In her acceptance speech she reflected on the monarchy and her own 25 years as queen. The speech was broadcast live.

On 29 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 Squaremarker in Amsterdammarker, and a celebration took place in The Haguemarker, the country's seat of government.

Apeldoorn car attack

On 30 April 2009 the Queen and the royal family were targeted in an attackmarker by a man called Karst Tatesmarker. Tates crashed his car into a parade in Apeldoornmarker, narrowly missing a bus carrying the Queen. Five people were killed initially; and two victims and the assailant Tates died later. Other victims of the crash are in a critical life threatening situation. One week after the attack another victim had succumbed to sustained injuries. The royal party were unharmed, but The Queen and members of her family saw the crash at close range and were visibly shaken. Within hours, Queen Beatrix made a rare televised address to express her shock and condolences. The man apparently told police he was deliberately targeting the royal family. He said he was recently unemployed and was about to be evicted. It is thought to be the first physical attack on Dutch royalty in modern times.

Personal wealth

It has long been stated that the queens of the Netherlands were the richest women in the world. Even in the 2005 Forbes website report, the Queen's family wealth was estimated at $4.7 billion. Queen Juliana had sold the remaining royal palaces and had put the cultural assets (paintings, antiques, books, etc.) into non-personal trusts.Queen Beatrix's personal wealth is now estimated to exceed $5.5 billion.

The royal palaces are the property of the Dutch state and given for the use of the reigning monarch; While the House of Orange-Nassau possesses a large number of personal belongings, items such as paintings, historical artifacts and jewellery are usually associated with the performance of royal duties and/or the decoration of royal residences. As such, these items have a cultural significance beyond that of simple artworks and jewellery, and have therefore 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 Apeldoornmarker and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdammarker.

The Crown Jewels, comprising the crown, orb and 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 house the personal archives of the royal family. This includes books, photographs, and artworks, as well as 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 William I allowed the Stadtholder's library to remain part of the Royal Library in The Haguemarker. 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 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 incurred in the performance of official duties and included in the budget of the most relevant ministry. They will total some €22.5 million in 2006.
  • Other expenses relating 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:

Name Birth Notes
Prince Willem-Alexander 27 April 1967 Heir-apparent, styled as the Prince of Orange; married to Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti since 2002, has issue (three daughters)
Prince Friso 25 September 1968 married to Mabel Wisse Smit since 2004 (without authorisation from the Dutch Parliament, causing him to lose his right to the Dutch throne) and has issue (two daughters, who are not Princesses of the Netherlands)
Prince Constantijn 11 October 1969 married to Laurentien Brinkhorst since 2001 and has issue (two daughters and one son)


Queen Beatrix and her late husband, Prince Claus, have eight grandchildren:

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Queen Beatrix's titles are:"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 Queen. These being dormant titles, they are retained in the masculine form.

The Queen signs official documents "Beatrix" and is addressed as "Your Majesty" (Dutch: "Uwe Majesteit"). Queen Beatrix's mother, Queen Juliana, frowned upon this title. She preferred to be addressed as "Mevrouw", Dutch for "Madam". Queen Beatrix re-introduced the Royal Style of Majesty when addressing her.


Queen Beatrix is Grand Master of the Military Order of William (Militaire Willemsorde) and the other Dutch orders of merit. She is also the 975th Member and 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. Among them she is the 1,187th Dame of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spainmarker.



Patrilineal descent

Beatrix's patriline is the line from which she is descended father to son.

House of Lippe(claimed descent from Saxon kings)
  1. Hermann I of Lippe, 1071–1126
  2. Hermann II of Lippe, 1119–1160
  3. Bernhard II of Lippe, 1151–1224
  4. Hermann III of Lippe, 1175–1229
  5. Bernhard III of Lippe, 1197–1265
  6. Bernhard IV of Lippe, 1240–1275
  7. Simon I of Lippe, d. 1344
  8. Otto of Lippe, d. 1360
  9. Simon III of Lippe, d. 1410
  10. Bernhard VI of Lippe, 1366–1415
  11. Simon IV of Lippe, 1404–1429
  12. Bernhard VII of Lippe, 1429–1511
  13. Simon V, Count of Lippe, 1471–1536
  14. Bernhard VIII, Count of Lippe, 1527–1563
  15. Simon VI, Count of Lippe, 1554–1613
  16. Simon VII, Count of Lippe-Detmold, 1587–1627
  17. Jobst Herman, Count of Lippe-Sternberg, 1625–1678
  18. Rudolf Ferdinand, Count of Lippe-Sternberg-Schwalenberg, 1671–1736
  19. Friedrich, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1706–1761
  20. Karl, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1735–1810
  21. (Wilhelm) Ernst, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1777–1840
  22. Julius Peter, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1812–1884
  23. Ernst, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1844–1905
  24. Bernhard, Prince of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1872–1934
  25. Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1911–2004

Prime Ministers of the Netherlands during the Queen's reign


  1. Youth. The Dutch Royal House. Retrieved on 2008-07-11.
  2. De vijf peetouders van prinses Beatrix. The Memory of the Netherlands. Retrieved on 2008-07-11.
  3. CBC News
  4. Education. The Dutch Royal House. Retrieved on 2008-07-11.
  5. National Capital Commission
  7. The complete text of the speech can be found at
  8. The complete broadcast is available at

External links

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