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Her Majesty Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands was born on the 31st January 1938 to the then Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, in Soestdijik Palace in Baarn. Together with her sister, Princess Irene, who was born in 1940, they lived in the Palace until the Nazi army invaded the Netherlands and the family had no choice but to flee. In May 1940, Princess Beatrix left the country with her family to the United Kingdom where Queen Wilhelmina made her government-in-exile and where great friendship was created between the Dutch and British Royal Families. Later they sought refuge in Ottawa, Canada.

It was there that the small Princess Beatrix attended nursery and primary school and it was there that, in 1943, another daughter was born to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, Princess Margriet. The Nazis were defeated in 1945 and the Allies won above all the liberation of so many peoples throughout Europe. The Dutch royal family returned to their homeland on the 2nd August 1945 and were greeted by enthusiastic crowds.

Upon her return to the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix attended De Werkplaats, Kees Boeke's progressive school in Blithoven. In April 1950, Beatrix entered Baarns Lysceum where she passed examinations in arts, subjects and classics. On her 18th birthday and coming of age, the Princess, heiress presumptive to the Dutch throne already, after the enthronement of her mother following the abdication of her grandmother Queen Wilhelmina, was entitled to the royal prerogative and installed in the Council of State. In the same year, she enrolled in Leiden University where she attended lectures in sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary law and constitutional law. The princess also attended lectures on Suriname, the Dutch Antilles, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law, history and European law. In the summer of 1959, Princess Beatrix passed her preliminary exam in law and in 1961, obtained her degree.

During the years that followed, Princess Beatrix became acquainted with the German diplomat, Claus von Amsberg. On the 28th June 1965, after a arduous public discussion on the matter and a refusal from the Queen to accept her daughter’s choice, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard announced their Princess Beatrix and Mr. Claus von Amsberg’s engagement to the television and radio stations. On the 10th November 1965, the Lower House introduced and passed a bill consenting to the marriage. The bill then passed the Upper House on the 8th December 1965. The couple visited all the Dutch provinces before their wedding, so that Princess Beatrix could present her future consort to the people. The wedding was celebrated in Amsterdam, on the 10th March 1966.

To this marriage came three sons, anticipating an end to the three-generation reign of women in the Netherlands: the first male heir in many years, HRH Prince Willem-Alexander was born in 1967; HRH Prince Johan Friso was born in 1968 and finally HRH Prince Constantijn was born in 1969. For a family with a tradition of women, this was certainly the surprise!

On the 30th April 1980, Queen Juliana signed the Act of Abdication and her daughter, Princess Beatrix, became the new Queen of the Netherlands. Her enthronement ceremony was held in the Nieuwe Kerk of Amsterdam in which there was a special plenary session of both houses of the States General.

From that day on, Queen Beatrix has devoted her reign to the Dutch people. She has visited the provinces of her country, keeping a keen eye and ear on the issues that mostly affect her people. The Queen also pays close attention to the government, of which she is the head in theory, sometimes too close attention in the opinion of some critics. But Beatrix's devotion to her country and people has made her immensely popular amongst the Dutch. Her love of sculpture, sailing, tennis, ballet and music is very well known and she has made it a point on attending many performances.

Queen Beatrix's balance of reign and family as been remarkable and her devotion to her beloved husband, Prince Claus, is unwavering. Their love for each other remains as strong as it was the day the Dutch nation saw a flustered Princess look lovingly into the eyes of the man she choose to spend the rest of her life with.

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