PM recalls prince 'who loved life'

1st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 December 2004, AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has described Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands as a person who was in love with life, while at the same time accepting his impending death with a peaceful mind.

1 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has described Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands as a person who was in love with life, while at the same time accepting his impending death with a peaceful mind.

Bernhard is the father of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Balkenende praised the German-born prince  — who died at the age of 93 on Wednesday evening — for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Dutch people and his lasting contribution to society.

Prince Bernhard — the husband of the late Queen Juliana who died on 20 March 2004 — had been suffering shortness of breath in recent weeks. He had fluid in his chest cavity due to the spread of an inoperable tumour and had also been diagnosed with an intestinal tumour.

Bernhard had expressed a wish to die at Palace Soestdijk, where he had lived with Juliana for 67 years. He had been receiving visits from members of the Royal Family in recent days, but was rushed to the UMC hospital in Utrecht on Wednesday afternoon as his condition deteriorated.

Balkenende confirmed that Bernhard had asked his doctors not to take any medical measures and died a short time after.

Describing him as a "person to love", Balkenende praised Bernhard's military service during the Second World War.

Armed with a machinegun, Bernhard helped lead his wife and members of the Royal Family into exile to London after the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940. Bernhard took charge of the Dutch forces in 1944 as the Germans were being driven out. The Prince was also present when the German forces surrendered.

Bernhard, the Prime Minister noted, made a point of attending annual Liberation Day ceremonies  to salute veterans who took part in the fighting to free the Netherlands from German control.

Bernhard's death was a personal loss not only for the Royal Family, but also for the surviving veterans, Balkenende said.

Referring to the dozens of operations Bernhard has undergone in recent years, Balkenende said "his will was made of iron, but his health was not".

Balkenende recalled that one of Bernhard's favourite sayings was "life is a gift" and that he wore a fresh carnation every day.

The government information service RVD announced in mid-November that Bernhard had an inoperable tumour.

During a meeting on 18 November, Bernhard and the Prime Minister talked about "life and death". Balkenende said Bernhard was in love with life, but accepted his impending death.

Bernhard told the Prime Minister: "I feel like a child who has built a sandcastle — and it's a success".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news, Prince Bernhard 

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