Despite some protests in the days before the wedding, the subjects of Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands flocked into Amsterdam’s streets to witness what would be an unforgettable event in grandeur and in display of love. The people gathering displayed great affection towards the Royal Family, while in the route of the cortege and near the wedding sites – the Royal Palace of the Dam, the Town Hall and the Westerkerk – the Armed Forces began to line the streets. These were decorated with banners and Dutch flags, and the flowers, perhaps the greatest symbol of the Netherlands, marked the tone of the day. The Palace balcony was highlighted with tulips, perhaps the most characteristic flower of the country, while the entrance and the main room of the Town Hall were completely flooded with flowers of all genders and the church beautifully decorated.
The day was certainly rainy but the pomp of the event was immense, and specially displayed when the Royal Family left the Royal Palace in the Dam Square towards the Town Hall in a brilliant cortege of magnificent coaches and cavalry. The slow, grand and majestic procession started as the members of the Royal Family and the pages and bridesmaids left the Royal Palace, through the red carpet, towards the carriages. HRH Princess Irene, accompanied by her husband HRH Prince Charles-Hughes of Bourbon-Parma left the Dam Square in one of the state landaus, closed on the occasion due to the rain, and HRH Princess Margriet, accompanied by her fiancé Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven, followed in another landau.
One of the most awaited moments came as HM the Queen, HRH Prince Bernhard and Mrs. Von Amsberg, the future Prince’s mother, left the Palace, amidst great acclamations from the crowd. The three entered the Glass State Coach
, one of the two jewels of the carriage collection of the Dutch Royal Household, a carriage that can only be used by the sovereign. The Queen wore a long and elegant blue dress, covered with a blue velvet long coat as she left the Palace, with a matching and stylish hat, since the attire recommended by the protocol, being an event in the morning, was long dresses with hats for women and uniforms or morning coats for men. Prince Bernhard wore his uniform and the ribbon of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands, the highest civil order of the Kingdom. He also wore the insignia of the Military Order of William, the highest order of the Kingdom, of which he is a commander for services paid during World War II.
Soon afterwards, as canon blasts were fired from the river and the 47 bells of the Westerkerk plus all those of all the churches of Amsterdam rang, HRH Princess Beatrix left the Palace of the Dam on the arm of her future husband, Mr. Claus von Amsberg, the German nobleman she had chosen to be her husband but also the new Prince of the Netherlands. At that moment the most awaited secret of the wedding was unveiled, the Princess’ fairytale gown and the historic jewels she had chosen to that most important of all days. Caroline Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette, in Den Bosch, designed Princess Beatrix’s beautiful dress, which was also made in Maison Linette, with silk woven in Maison Staron in Saint-Etienne, using satin duchesse specially woven for this dress. The design of the magnificent tiara worn by the Princess was woven into the front of the skirt and into the train, of 5 metres long and 2 metres wide. A very short veil was held in place by the diamond and pearl ornate tiara. Mr. Claus von Amsberg chose a very classic morning coat, with grey tie.
See pictures and learn more about Princess Beatrix’s wedding jewels
See more pictures of the cortege through Amsterdam
See pictures and learn more about the Golden Coach and the Glass Coach
Crowds cheered loudly as the couple left the Royal Palace and crossed the courtyard towards the magnificent Golden State Coach, while it was clearly possible to see how happy Princess Beatrix was to achieve her dream of marrying the man she loved, even if against a part of the public opinion. As the Princess climbed into the Golden Coach, it all seemed to be a part of a dream, with the carriages slowly moving around the Dam Square, followed by the cavalry. The procession went through the crowded streets and stopped in front of the Town Hall, where Princess Beatrix’s dream continued to get real as she dramatically got out of the carriage and entered with her future husband, surrounded by the bridesmaids and pages. The small bridesmaids and pages were Daphne Stewart Clark, Carolijn Alting von Geusau, Joachim Jencquel and Markus von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff, watched over by Jonkvrouwe Eugénie Mary Loudon and Christina von Amsberg. The other bridesmaids, who took care of the Princess’ train were HRH Princess Christina of the Netherlands, HRH Princess Christina of Sweden, Lady Elisabeth Anson and Jonkvrouwe Joanna Elisabeth Roëll.
In the Town Hall, the Mayor of Amsterdam, Mr. Gijsbert Van Hall, welcomed Princess Beatrix and Mr. Claus von Amsberg, whom afterwards took their places in the middle of the room where dozens of guests and ordinary citizens chosen to testify this “public” civil wedding had taken place (the royal guests were meanwhile taken in a car cortege to the Westerkerk), seated in front of the Mayor and other city’s authorities, who sat behind a table profusely decorated with flowers in tones of orange, as was the whole room. The Mayor asked the Mr. Claus von Amsberg and Princess Beatrix about their will to get married and given the consent, they were pronounced man and wife. From that moment, Mr. Claus von Amsberg was His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer Van Amsberg. The changing of the name from the German von Amsberg
to the Dutch van Amsberg
was highly criticized in some sectors of the society and also in the international press where it was seen as an attempt to clean Prince Claus’ German past.
The civil wedding was not clean of protest itself, since half of the Municipality Council declined the invitation to be present after it was announced that Mr. Claus von Amsberg would be elevated to the dignity of Royal Highness and Prince of the Netherlands. After the exchange of vows, the stewards of the Town Hall brought two tables covered in pale green clothes and placed them in front of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus for them to sign the registers. Afterwards, the Mayor offered the princely couple the gold pens with which the act of marriage had been signed and two specially calligraphed copies of this act, and subsequently the couple left the main room of the Town Hall, heading back to the streets and acclamations of Amsterdam…