Prince to be interred in air force uniform
3 December 2004, AMSTERDAM — Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is to be laid to rest in his beloved air force uniform, having been stripped of the right to wear it after being implicated in a bribery scandal in the mid-1970s.
3 December 2004
AMSTERDAM — Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is to be laid to rest in his beloved air force uniform, having been stripped of the right to wear it after being implicated in a bribery scandal in the mid-1970s.
The German-born prince flew for the British RAF during World War II after helping the Dutch royal family escape from the German invasion of the Netherlands. His wish was to be buried in his uniform, bearing the rank of General of the Dutch air force.
A stickler for tradition, Bernhard had reportedly told friends he wanted to be laid to rest with the insignia of his rank on his sleeves, rather than the "modern practise of wearing the stripes on the shoulder".
The prince, 93, died as a result of cancer on 1 December. The prince-consort of the late monarch, Queen Juliana, he will be placed in the royal family crypt in Delft on 11 December. He will lie next to Juliana, who died last March.
Bernhard was inspector of all branches of the Dutch military up to the mid-1970s when he was accused of accepting a USD 1.1 million bribe from US plane manufacturer Lockheed to influence the Dutch government's decision on buying a new fighter plane.
Bernhard always denied — at least in public — that he had accepted the bribe.
A commission of inquiry at the time failed to substantiate the charge, but he was severely criticised for giving the impression in the way he did business that he was open to taking backhanders.
The government of the day insisted that he be stripped of his official responsibilities and that he never wear a Dutch military uniform again.
On Friday, it was reported that Bernhard admitted in a series of interviews with a prominent Dutch journalist that he had foolishly accepted the bribe. He claimed he gave away any of the proceeds he received.
He gave the interviews to the magazine De Groene Amsterdammer on condition it would only be published after his death.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news