Veterans, elderly bid Prince Bernhard farewell

7th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Elderly people and war veterans, some of them in military uniform, dominated the crowd lining up on Tuesday to pay their final respects to Prince Bernhard.

7 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Elderly people and war veterans, some of them in military uniform, dominated the crowd lining up on Tuesday to pay their final respects to Prince Bernhard.

Bernhard, who died at the beginning of the month, is lying in state in the chapel of Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.

The number of people standing in the queue swelled to a few thousand by mid-afternoon and members of the public were also placing wreaths — especially with white carnations — on the grass in front of the palace.

Those standing in line were for the most part silent or talked in whispers, and mobile phones had been switched off, news agency ANP reported. A condolence register could also be signed in the palace gardens.

Several people who had passed through the palace chapel spoke of a "serene peace". An elderly woman also said that part of her generation's history had been lost upon the death of Prince Bernhard last week.
 
Besides the older visitors the palace, there was also a noteworthy range in ages of people wishing to bid farewell to the popular Bernhard, who died of cancer at the UMC hospital in Utrecht on 1 December at the age of 93.

His body was taken from Soestdijk Palace on Sunday to The Hague, where he will lie in state until he is interred in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft on Saturday. The prince will be placed in the royal family tomb next to his wife, Queen Juliana, who died in March 2004.

Next to Bernhard's coffin in the palace chapel are the three wreaths from his children — Queen Beatrix and the princesses Irene, Margriet and Christina — his grandchildren and that of his great grandchildren.

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince Maurits and Prince Pieter-Christiaan held the first night vigil over Bernhard's body on Monday night. The father of the latter two, Pieter van Vollenhoven (the husband of Princess Margriet) also joined the night vigil.

Members of the Dutch Lower House of Parliament and Senate had earlier paid tribute to Prince Bernhard on Monday in a joint sitting in the Knights Hall in The Hague. Lower House chair Frans Weisglas said the death of Bernhard was the end of an era.

His coffin has been draped in the Dutch flag and white carnation, in honour of the prince's pendant for wearing one each day. The four divisions of the Dutch military are guarding Bernhard's body during the day, while the military police will take over at night.

Politicians and diplomats paid their final respects to Bernhard at the chapel on Monday and the palace opened Tuesday to members of the public. The chapel will also be open to the public Wednesday and Thursday between 9am and 11pm.

A police spokesman told news agency Novum that the "usual" measures had been taken around the palace. This meant that the road has been sealed off to traffic, the Red Cross is on hand to provide the public assistance and scouts are offering coffee and tea. The spokesman said the police presence is discreet.

The Netherlands is well versed in royal funerals of late, with the death of Queen Juliana in March and the husband of Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus, in October 2002. Both Juliana and Claus lay in state in The Hague before being interred in the royal family tomb in Delft.

[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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