Friday, August 16, 2019

A fourth daughter for Juliana


February 18, 1947

Princess Juliana of the Netherlands gave birth today to her fourth daughter at 2:30 a.m. at Soestdijk, reports the New York Times.

The princess and her newborn daughter are "reported to be in excellent condition."  The baby weighed six pounds.

The Netherlands "joins in the happiness of the royal family," but there is said to be "some disappointment" as it was "generally hoped" that Princess Juliana would give birth to a son.  There has not been a male heir to the Dutch throne since 1884.

Dutch radio announced the news at 7 a.m, which was followed by a fifty-one gun salute.   The birth will be registered at the royal palace later today in the presence of the Prime Minister and the Burgomeister. "to whom the proud father, as prescribed, must show the baby."

A national holiday has been declared. but "school children won't profit, as the schools were already closed by the coal shortage."

February 19, 1947

The new princess has been named Maria Christina.  The first photo was taken by her proud father, Prince Bernhard.  She will be called Marijke.

June 12, 1947

It was announced today that Princess Maria Christina  will undergo an operation on both eyes.  Shortly after her birth , it was discovered "the Princess had a congenital cataract."

October 9, 1947

Princess Maria Christina is baptized at the Dom Church in Utrecht. Her godparents were Queen Wilhelmina (her maternal grandmother),  Princess Beatrix (her eldest sister),  Winston Churchill, Princess Armgard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (her paternal grandmother), Prince Felix of Luxembourg, husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte, and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.

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Prince Bernhard stood proxy for Winston Churchill.  Princess Anne of Bourbon-par,a was Prince Felix's niece.

@Dutch National Archives

In June 1956, Dutch government officials "expressed concern and embarrassment" of a faith healer, Greet Hofmans' influence over Queen Juliana.  It was her husband, Prince Bernhard, who, according to reports, first heard about Hofmans' faith healing in 1948, and arranged for Juliana to meet with her. 

The queen hoped that Hofmans would be able to cure  Princess Maria-Christina's partial blindness.   Further reported noted that Hofmans "moved on to a sphere of  greater influence over the queen," according to the New York Times .

It was Bernhard who forced Hofmans to leave the palace in 1950.  This action, it was suggested, led to Bernhard and Juliana's estrangement.   Miss Hofmans moved to Baarn, near one of the royal residences, and continued to practice her faith healing.

German magazine Der Spiegel broke the story although Dutch government officials had known about it for years.  No Dutch newspaper would publish the story with the exception of a Dutch communist newspaper.

In July 1956, the Dutch government used the occasion of Princess Maria Christina's promotion from the third to the fourth grade to state that she was "handicapped but not blind.   The princess completed her studies in "the normal way."  The government acknowledged that Maria Christina "does not have good vision she is not blind."

In 1963, Maria Christina announced that she preferred to be styled as Princess Christina of the Netherlands.  Marijke was a "baby'' name  Three years later, NBC's The  Daughters of  Orange focused on Queen Juliana, as a mother, and her four daughters.   Aline Saarinen, an NBC correspondent, was reporter for the special.  She had recently interviewed Queen Juliana.

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It was a year later in July 1967 that the 20-year-old princess traveled to the US and Canada for a three week visit.  She arrived in New York City on July 9 and immediately traveled to Harrisburg, PA, where she was fitted for special contact lenses.  She was accompanied by Dr. Robert Morrison,a Harrisburg optometrist and hr lady in waiting, Nora de Vleiger.

During her time in North American,  the Princess visited friends in New York and Ottawa and also visited Expo 67 in Montreal before returning to Europe to spent August with her family in Ercole, Italy.

The Princess had a mind of her own "and a will to match her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina," who died in 1961.

She began music lessons in 1962.  After passing her school exams in 1965, she moved out of the palace and moved into an apartment with friends.   A year later, she enrolled in Groningen University for a pedagogic course.  Princess Christina rented a room in the home of one of her professors, before moving into a student apartment.

It was important for Christina to achieve an element of independence. When her family was in Italy for a holiday, Christina flew to the US and Canada to visit eye specialists.  There was a sense of freedom for the "inevitable thick-lensed" glasses.  She made new friends in Groningen, but according to The Observer (London), "she was still a princess, and forever hampered by the small formalities and the embarrassment of other people."

Christina decided to leave Groningen to "develop her singing talent and make her own way in the world."  She flew to Canada to take the exams, passed with flying colors, flew back to the Netherlands to seek parental approval and then she packed her bags for Montreal.

After graduation from McGill University, the princess moved to New York City, where she taught music in a Montessori school.  It was in New York City that she met Cuban-born Jorge Guillermo,  who ran a day care center in Harlem.   Jorge was born in Havana in 1946.  He and his parents left Cuba in 1962, a year after Fidel Castro seized power.

Princess Christina and Guillermo's engagement was announced on February 14, 1975

The couple sat down with American and European reporters at a press conference at the Dutch Consul General's office in New York City. 

"We have been  We have been surprised by the interest generated by our engagement," said Mr. Guillermo.  "We want to be continue to be just ordinary New Yorkers, as we have been."

The princess who was wearing an aqua suede dress sat with her fiance as they were peppers with questions.   She was asked how she first met Jorge.  "I first knew Mr. Guillermo ..."  Jorge laughed and said:  "Oh, you can call me George."

Christina was asked if it was fun to be a princess.  "Yes, but difficult," she answered.

They  said they did not fall in love immediately, but their love "grew."

The couple met through a friend.  What was their first date.  "A dinner party."  Their second date?  "A dinner party." 

"We like dinner parties," said Jorge.

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Did Jorge expect to marry a princess? "No,"  but he was "pleased" when he found out.   He proposed on his knee.

The couple were asked if they would "observe the traditional husband-wife roles or would they have a liberal marriage?"

"Middle of the road,"said Jorge.  Christina smiled.

Jorge did most  of the talking.  They planned on living in New York after the wedding.  They enjoyed the opera and going to movies.  "We wait in line like everybody else and we get rained on like everybody else."

The couple's civil wedding took place at Baarn, shortly before the religious service at the Cathedral of St. Martin in Utrecht on June 28, 1975.  Tens of thousands of people packed the center of town, but the New York Times noted that the wedding was "devoid of pageantry, parades or bridesmaids."

The 1,1000 guests attended the wedding and the reception that followed in a hall at Utrecht university.  Most of the guests were family members and close friends from the United States and Canada, but there were no representatives from Europe's royal houses.

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It was an ecumenical service as Christina, a Protestant,  and Jorge, a recently naturalized American citizen, was Roman Catholic,  The bride eschewed pomp and wore a "white silk organza dress without veil or train." The gown was designed by a New Yorker, Andrew Koyal,  Her bouquet included white roses and lilies.

After the wedding the couple returned to their teaching jobs in New York City.  Christina was known a Christina van Orange at the private school where she taught music and French.   But after a short period time, the couple moved to the Netherlands where they built Villa Eikenhorst in Wassenaar.

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As she did not seek Parliament's approval for the marriage, Christina lost her right of succession to to the throne. Her descendants are also not in the line of succession.

 The couple had three children:  Bernardo Federico Tomás  (June 21, 1977), Nicolás Daniel Mauricio (July 6, 1979) and Juliana Edenia Antonia (October 8, 1981).

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In July 1978 the Dutch government announced that Christina had suffered a miscarriage.

All three of her children were born in Utrecht.

Christina converted to Catholicism in 1992.  

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In her later years, the Princess lived in London, the Netherlands and Italy.  A gifted singer, she performed at both of her parents' funerals.  Earlier this year, she sold several works of art including a drawing by Peter Paul Rubens, which sold for $82 million.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte , noting that her decision to relinquish her succession,  Christina “created room for herself to lead her own life. A life dominated by family, her great love of music and development of young singing talent.”
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King Willem-Alexander described his aunt as a "striking personality with a warm heart.

Princess Christina was diagnosed with bone cancer in June 2018.  She died on August 16 at in her apartment at the Noordeinde palace complex in the Hague.  She is survived by her three children, at least four grandchildren, and her three older sisters,  Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet.

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