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The procession towards the Westerkerk was magnificently grand and solemn, going through the ovations of the crowds and the music played by the military bands. On the route to the church, a smell bomb was thrown into the cortege, which, dignified, continued its way. In the Westerkerk, the most awaited moment of the day with the solemnization of the wedding in the Calvinist Church. Being one of the biggest protestant temples of Europe, the Westerkerk had never been the setting of a royal wedding. The last grand such event, the wedding of the then Princess Juliana to Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, had been held in St. Jacob’s Church, in The Hague and in 1966 many asked why the splendid Nieuwe Kerk, setting of Queen Wilhelmina’s and Queen Juliana’s enthronements, just next to the Royal Palace of the Dam, hadn’t been chosen instead, being the reason the ongoing restoration process.

See pictures of and learn more about the Westerkerk

Around 1600 guests had taken place in the Westerkerk, among which members of several royal houses. Two beautiful chairs and matching kneelers had been placed in the centre of the church, in front of the seats to be occupied by the Dutch Royal Family and the foreign Royal Families. The Government of the Kingdom, the representation of Parliament and representatives of various sectors of the Dutch political, civil, religious and military society were present at the wedding of the heiress presumptive to the throne. They all rose as Princess Beatrix and the new Prince of the Netherlands entered through the door on the left of the chairs they would occupy, at the sound of the French hymn with music of George Friedrich Haendel “A toi la gloire” . Before them and leaving rose petals in the floor, the small bridesmaids and pages, that delighted the assembly. The couple took their places and the service, being the liturgy conducted by Pastor H.J. Kater, began.

During the sermon, Pastor J.H. Sillevis Smit summed the hopes of the whole country, and mostly those of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus: “May this marriage, that has caused so many tension, be a cause of harmony in the future, a proof that the nations can together build a lasting peace.” The sermon was perhaps the most moving moment of the ceremony, and Queen Juliana could not help shedding some tears. After the exchange of vows, answering to the questions of the Pastor, Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus exchanged rings and then kneeled for the blessing. At the end of the ceremony, and as the magnificent Trompet Voluntary of Jeremiah Clarke sounded in the Westerkerk, the couple left the church, followed by the members of the Royal Family.

The cortege then recommenced towards the Royal Palace of the Dam, amidst the cheers of a crowd estimated of 200.000 people, but also some jeers from those protesting against Prince Claus. It was, overall, a great display of love between two people. The royal couple appeared on the balcony of the Royal Palace after getting back inside, and was once again cheered by a delighted crowd. Inside, the Queen and the other members of the Dutch and foreign Royal Families prepared for the official family photographs, taken before the banquet offered by the sovereign in honour of her daughter and her son-in-law.

See more pictures of the wedding ceremonies

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