Dutch royal family mourns in private
22 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch royal family is mourning the passing of Princess Juliana in strict privacy and a quiet atmosphere pervaded the visiting public at Soestdijk Palace on Sunday.
The late monarch’s husband, Prince Bernhard, was briefly seen dressed in black on Sunday in the hallways of the Soestdijk Palace, where he lived for more than 60 years with Princess Juliana, the former Dutch monarch.
And after seeing her mother die at 5.50am on Saturday, Queen Beatrix was briefly seen in public in the middle of the night on Sunday after Princess Laurentien — the wife of the Queen’s third son, Prince Constantijn — gave birth to a baby son.
Arriving at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague with her second son Prince Johan Friso and his fiancée Mabel Wisse Smit, the Queen stayed for an hour visiting the proud parents and their newborn son before returning home, an RTL news report said.
But up until Wednesday — when the body of Princess Juliana will be taken from Soestdijk to Palace Noordeinde in The Hague — the Dutch royal family considers the mourning period as a strictly private affair.
At Juliana’s request, the royal family will observe a short mourning period and will thus not officially appear in public for the next few weeks. The mourning period will end on 11 April, Easter Sunday, the government information service RVD said.
And the Soestdijk Palace was busy with the comings and goings of children and grandchildren who privately said their last goodbyes to their mother and grandmother on Sunday.
Official newspaper the Staatscourant will publish a special edition on Monday to officially announce the death of Princess Juliana, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday.
Members of the public visiting the Soestdijk palace were in general quiet, talking very little. In total, thousands of people have laid flowers at the fence to the palace, but most people only stayed a half-hour before moving onwards.
The visitors started gathering from the early hours on Sunday and a crowd of people coming and going was seen along the palace fences until the early evening.
While the first few hundred bunches of flowers were laid at the fences, members of the scouting movement started taking the flowers to the palace steps from about midday. Eventually, they started accepting the flowers directly, before placing them with the others.
Most visitors to the palace of the former Dutch queen came from the nearby towns of Baarn and Soest. There was a remarkable amount of younger visitors.
But primarily older people — who regularly flocked to the Soestdijk palace on Juliana’s birthday in the past few decades — returned to the palace again on Sunday. Many of the older visitors spoke of a “normal and sweet Juliana”.
The Baarn municipality — where Palace Soestdijk is situated — will commemorate the life of Princess Juliana in a special council meeting and various church services on Monday night.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news