50,000 bid farewell to Princess Juliana
29 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Almost 50,000 people paid their last respects to Princess Juliana in the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague last week before the doors to the chapel closed to the public on Sunday night.
The palace was open to the public from 9am-10pm on 25-28 March and about 17,000 people visited the chapel on the first two days. Saturday saw 14,000 visitors, but Sunday was the busiest day as 18,000 people filed past the former queen’s coffin.
The line-up for the palace chapel was closed at 10pm on Sunday, but 2,000 people still standing in line were able to enter the chapel and later sign the condolence register. The last person in line walked through the chapel at about midnight.
Anyone who wished to pay their last respects to the 94-year-old Juliana had to wait about two hours in line on Sunday night. The evening was twice as busy as the afternoon, a police spokesman said.
Volunteers from the Red Cross were on duty to assist the public. Scouts and girl guides distributed chocolate milk. The Hague public transport authority HTM provided free buses to and from the palace and Central Station.
Princess Juliana died in her sleep at Soestdijk Palace surrounded by much of her immediate family on 20 March and will be interred in the Dutch royal family tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft on Tuesday.
Representatives of 15 foreign royal families will attend the state funeral, as will various Dutch government ministers and other dignitaries. About 1,800 invitations have been issued, public news service NOS reported.
The Government Information Service RVD has confirmed that Juliana’s 92-year-old husband, Prince Bernhard, is fit enough to attend the funeral, but it remains uncertain whether their granddaughter, Princess Margarita — who is locked in a bitter dispute with the royal family — will also attend.
At least 350 journalists have registered with the RVD to report on the funeral, but only a very restricted number will be allowed to enter the church during the ceremony. Photographers will line the procession route.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news