Public show of mourning slow, but steady

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dozens of people were seen coming and going from Soestdijk Palace to pay their final respects to Prince Bernhard on Thursday and messages were gradually being placed on various condolence registers.

2 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dozens of people were seen coming and going from Soestdijk Palace to pay their final respects to Prince Bernhard on Thursday and messages were gradually being placed on various condolence registers.

The vicinity around the palace where Bernhard lay in state was relatively quiet as visitors expressed their sympathies for the royal family. Police have fenced off the road in front of the palace in expectation of greater numbers.

A black standard of Queen Beatrix was seen flying above Soestdijk Palace, having replaced Prince Bernhard's banner that was raised upon the death of Queen Juliana in March 2004. Prior to that, the joint banner of Juliana and Bernhard had flown above their palace home.

Since 1971, the palace has been the property of the Dutch State and was home only to Bernhard after Juliana's death. It is not yet known what will happen with the estate — the childhood home of Queen Beatrix and her three sisters — in the future.

Meanwhile, on the website condoleance.nl there were more than 2,500 messages by mid-morning on Thursday. The website said 300 condolences were being placed on the website every hour, but the flow was considered to be moderate.

One message said the death of Bernhard was "the end of an era" and another said the 93-year-old was the "vader des vaderlands" (father of the nation). This title is usually reserved for Willem of Orange, the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that resulted in the formal independence of Holland in 1648.

About 800 messages had been placed on condoleanceregister.com by mid-morning and about 150 on the site icondolement.nl. Several dozen expressions of sympathy had been left on the official condolence site of the royal family's website.

The Government Information Service has opened an information line for members of the public. The number is 0800 300 1813 and is open weekdays from 9am-9pm and on weekends from 9am-6pm.

Some 6.5 million people watched the special news broadcasts on Wednesday night following the death of Prince Bernhard in the UMC hospital in Utrecht. Bernhard died from the complications brought on by cancer.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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