Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of Orange-Nassau (born January 31, 1938) is the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, having acceded to the throne in 1980. Beatrix is the daughter of the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and her surviving husband, Prince Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld. When Beatrix was a young girl, the Dutch royal family fled the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II, moving to Britain in May 1940 and then to Ottawa, Canada. They returned home in 1945.
In Canada, Princess Beatrix had attended nursery and primary school. On her return to the Netherlands, she continued her primary education at The Workshop (De Werkplaats), Kees Boeke's progressive school in Bilthoven. In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, part of Baarns Lyceum, where she passed her school-leaving examinations in arts subjects and classics in 1956.
On January 31, 1956, Princess Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday. From that date, under the Constitution of the Netherlands, she was entitled to assume the royal prerogative. At that time, her mother installed her in the Council of State.
Beatrix began her university studies the same year, at Leiden University. In her first years at university, she attended lectures in sociology, jurisprudence, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law. In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law, history and European law.
While at university, the Princess visited various European and international organisations in Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris, and Brussels. She was also an active member of the Leiden Women Students' Association. In the summer of 1959, she passed her preliminary examination in law, and she obtained her law degree in July 1961.
On March 10, 1966, she married the diplomat Claus von Amsberg. Initially, there was quite some opposition to the marriage. With fresh memories of the Second World War, a part of the Dutch people didn't appreciate a German prince. As time went on, however Claus became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy and his 2002 death was widely mourned.
On April 30, 1980, Beatrix became Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands when her mother abdicated. She exercises her function with more formality than Queen Juliana. She has a lot of supporters because of her professionalism, but during the 1990s criticism increased. Beatrix's current challenge is to keep the Dutch monarchy modern, efficient and most of all in tune with the wishes of the Dutch people. It is expected that like her two predecessors, Beatrix will not remain on the throne for life, and instead respectfully abdicate when she is confident her son is ready to assume the crown.
She has been a long-time member of the Club of Rome.
Beatrix has three children, all sons:
Prince Willem-Alexander (born 1967)
Prince Johan-Friso (born 1968)
Prince Constantijn (born 1969)
On October 6, 2002, her husband Prince Claus died after a long illness. A year and a half later, her mother also passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Both deaths garnered a massive outpouring of national grief, which no doubt provided comfort to Beatrix.
Beatrix is rarely quoted directly in the press, since the government information service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst) makes it a condition of interviews that she not be quoted. This rule was introduced shortly after her inauguration, reportedly to protect her from political complications that may arise from "off-the-cuff" remarks. It does not apply to her son Willem-Alexander.
Hereditary titles of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Her Majesty Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard by the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands
Princess of Orange-Nassau
Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Marchioness of Veere and Flushing
Countess of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam, and Culemborg
Viscountess of Antwerp
Baroness of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the city Grave and the land of Cuyk, IJsselstein, Cranendonk, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstal, Warneton, Arlay and Nozeroy
Hereditary and Suzerain Dame of Ameland
Dame of Borculo, Breedevoort, Lichtenvoorde, Het Loo, Geertruidenberg, Clundert, Zevenbergen, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, Sint-Maartensdijk, Soest and Baarn
Prime Ministers of the Netherlands during Queen Beatrix's regin
Dries van Agt (1977-1982)
Ruud Lubbers (1982-1994)
Wim Kok (1994-2002)
Jan Peter Balkenende (2002- )
Queen Beatrix International Airport is named after Queen Beatrix