Expatica news

Prince Bernhard might miss Juliana’s funeral

23 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Prince Bernhard, 92, is physically unwell and it is uncertain whether he will attend the funeral of his 94-year-old wife, Princess Juliana, the government information service RVD has said.

The RVD said the coming days will indicate whether the aging prince will be fit enough to attend the funeral. It also said Bernhard is doing his best to recover sufficiently to attend the ceremony.

Former Dutch queen Juliana died in her sleep at 5.50am on Saturday morning and will be interred in the Dutch royal family tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft on 30 March.

According to the RVD, Prince Bernhard is “extremely affected” by the death of his wife — whom he married in 1937 and had four daughters with — and it is possible that his health will not allow him to attend her funeral.

The RVD also said the prince’s health was not directly related to the death of his wife. It refused to reveal what the prince is suffering from. Nevertheless, the prince’s condition is said to be fragile.

Bernhard has undergone more than 50 surgical operations over the course of his life and on most occasions he recovered miraculously quickly.

But in 2000, the German-born prince hovered between life and death for several days after an intestinal operation, public news service NOS reported.

Bernhard has always disliked funerals and experienced strong emotions at previous occasions such as the 1988 funeral of his brother Aschwin in The Hague.

He did not attend the 1990 funeral of his good friend, Hans Teengs Gerritsen, and only after initial reluctance attended the October 2002 funeral of Prince Claus, the husband of Bernhard’s daughter Queen Beatrix.

The RVD said the prince’s aversion to attending funerals was not playing a role in his possible absence at Juliana’s funeral next week, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Juliana and Bernhard met in 1936 during the Winter Olympics in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, and their engagement was announced seven months later. They were married on 7 January 1937.

The couple’s first daughter, Queen Beatrix, took the Dutch throne when her mother abdicated in 1980. The royal couple also had three other daughters: Irene, Margriet and Christina.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news