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In May 1962, the Netherlands was the stage for one of the most glittering royal events of the 20th century: the silver wedding anniversary of HM Queen Juliana and HRH Prince Bernhard. Days of celebrations attracted thousands to the streets and provided one of the most impressive royal gatherings of the 1960’s, repeated one week later in Athens for the wedding of Princess Sofia of Greece with the Prince of the Asturias. Even HM the Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, who during her reign barely attended royal events outside her kingdom, attended the Amsterdam celebrations, mingling with other heads of state, like the Shah and the Shabanou of Iran.

Four years later, in March 1966, several days of celebrations marked the wedding of HRH Princess Beatrix, heiress presumptive to the throne, with Mr. Claus von Amsberg. However, and unlike in 1962, those glitter days were mainly marked by great displays of disapproval towards the marriage and even of some violence near the places where the main events would take place.

On Saturday, the 5th of March, the Government of the Kingdom, which in theory is headed by the sovereign, offered a full gala state banquet in honour of the royal couple. Men wore white tie with decorations, while women were required to wear long dresses with facultative tiaras. The banquet was held at the Prinsenhof in Delft, the site of Prince William I of Orange’s last years of life and also the site of his death. In all gala royal events the jewels set the tone of the celebration and catch the eyes of the attendance, and the Government banquet was no exception. Princess Beatrix, extremely elegant, wore her Small Diamond Tiara, while her mother chose the rather imposing Mellerio Diamond and Ruby parure and her sister Princess Irene, then already Princess of Bourbon-Parma, wore her Bourbon wedding tiara.

The delighted couple sat together in the middle at the presidential table, surrounded by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government and the Queen and members of the Royal Family. During the dinner several scenes caught the attention of the photographers, like the one depicted above of Mr. Claus von Amsberg giving a slice of cake to his bride or the couple curiously looking at a crown-ornament above their heads.

See more pictures of the Government State Banquet in Delft

A few days later, on the 8th of March, the Queen offered the most glittering party of the wedding, another full gala banquet, this time at the Hilton Hotel of Amsterdam. The event, two days before the wedding was attended by most of the members of the European Royal Families who would be present at the wedding on the 10th of March. Princess Beatrix wore an extremely elegant embroidered dress, in white and light blue, and sparkled with her pearl and diamond jewels. During the evening, Princess Beatrix carried a small, elegant bunch of white flowers in her hand.

After the glittering banquet at the Hilton, the guests were transferred to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, in the Dam Square where a grand ball would take place. Inside, Princess Beatrix and Mr. Claus von Amsberg opened the ball and then mingled with their guests in the Burgerzaal of the Palace.

See more pictures of the Gala Banquet and Ball

See pictures of the guests and identification of jewels

On Wednesday, eve of the wedding, HM the Queen of the Netherlands presented the guests to the royal wedding with a black tie dinner followed by a ball in the Amstel Hotel of Amsterdam. The Dutch Royal Family and the members of foreign royal families, among 300 guests, attended the rather relaxed event to which Princess Beatrix wore a simple dress in two tones of blue with flower motifs.

See more pictures of the Amstel Hotel Banquet

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