Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crisis in Dutch royal marriage

June 29, 1956

Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands "denounced today gossip about them abroad and ordered an inquiry into the origin of reports of tension in the royal family," according to a front page story in the New York Times.
The Queen and her husband issued a statement saying they had been "disappointed and grieved" by the way it was "considered permissible abroad to describe our family life and relations of our close surroundings."
"We think it desirable to constitute an inquiry into the circumstances which have caused this."
By coincidence, today is Prince Bernhard's 49th birthday. The Dutch government is understood to be "embarrassed by the statement," and had indicated that the Palace would remain silent on the matter.
The premier, Willem Dreez, offered the Dutch government's official attitude: "There is no constitutional crises and no thought of abdication or divorce. This is a purely private matter between the Queen and the Prince and nothing further can be said about."
Reports of marital difficulties between Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard "gained international prominence on June 11, when the West German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, published an article about a rift between the Queen and her husband "over the Queen's association with a 'faith healer.'"
The faith healer is a 61-year-old woman named Greet Hoffmans, "who had been introduced to the palace in 1948," after the birth of Queen's youngest daughter, Princess Christina. The princess was born with a serious eye ailment.
Prince Bernhard "eventually grew impatient with Miss Hoffman' presence and influence on the Queen." In 1950, he ordered Hoffmans to leave the palace. But it was the "continuation of her relationship with Queen Juliana that was alleged to have provoked estrangement between the Queen and her consort."
Although it was regarded as "a confidential matter," the situation has been known "for years to leading Netherlanders and press circles."

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