Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Irene's engagement plans dropped

February 4, 1964

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands went on national radio tonight and announced that her second daughter, 24-year-old Princess Irene," would not become engaged as she had planned," reports the New York Times. 

"Our daughter is passing through a difficult time, " she said.

The name of the putative fiancé, believed to be Spanish, was not named.

The Queen said that it "had been impossible to make an earlier announcement to the Dutch people," because there still had been the "happy possibility of an engagement."

Queen Juliana returned from the Olympic Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria, two weeks earlier than expected.

She spoke for about two minutes.  She said her daughter was "having a difficult time," and hoped the Dutch people would "not trouble her."

Princess Irene has been in Spain for four weeks.  Last week, she announced she had become a Roman Catholic, leading to speculation that she was planning to marry a Spaniard.

A spokesman for the Dutch government announced that the Princess was en route home.  But when the plane landed Princess Irene was not aboard, and it appeared she had changed her mind at the last minute."

Queen Juliana only learned this afternoon that there would be no engagement, and she said she hoped her daughter would soon be "back in our midst."

It appears that there has been a "day of political activity" with Princess Irene  under pressure to not "go ahead with the engagement."

Queen Juliana spent more than four hours with the Prime Minister and other Cabinet officials.

some are speculating that the queen has objected to Princess Irene's choice.  Another possibility is that the suitor supports the regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, which is "highly unpopular in the Netherlands."
If Princess Irene marries without the consent of the Parliament and the Sovereign, she will lose her right of succession.  She is second in line after her sister, Princess Beatrix.

Irene's announcement that she had become a Roman Catholic had caused "consternation in much of the Netherlands," as for three centuries the House of Orange has been Protestant.  Last week, Queen Juliana said she "left her children free to make their own religious choice."

Some members of the Dutch parliament have found it difficult to "support a marriage" that could result in a Roman Catholic royal house.

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