Expatica news

Princess Juliana returns to birthplace

24 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — The body of Princess Juliana was taken from Soestdijk Palace on Wednesday morning to the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.

The former queen’s three youngest daughters — Irene, Margriet and Christina — plus Margriet’s husband Pieter van Vollenhoven and several grandchildren kept a night vigil over Juliana’s body on Tuesday.

Juliana’s body left Soestdijk for the last time shortly before 11am on Wednesday and arrived at Noordeinde in her birth city at about 12.30pm, public news service NOS reported.

Eldest daughter Queen Beatrix — plus Irene, Margriet and Christina — accompanied the deceased 94-year-old on the journey. The rest of the royal family stayed at Soestdijk with Prince Bernhard, the 92-year-old husband of Juliana.

Conforming to the wishes of Princess Juliana, daughters Irene, Margriet and Christina wore lightly coloured clothing, while Queen Beatrix was noticeable in a darker attire.

Hundreds of people gathered at Soestdijk on Wednesday morning and several of them applauded as the vehicle carrying Juliana’s body passed them. A Dutch flag was draped over the coffin and the flowers were white.

Some motorists stopped along the route to The Hague to watch the procession and about 2,000 people awaited the arrival of Princess Juliana’s body in The Hague, where she was born on 30 April 1909.

The hearse was driven by the chauffeur of the former queen and Juliana’s gardener sat next to him. A cavalcade of motorbikes and cars accompanied the hearse.

The Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament commemorated Juliana’s life in a joint sitting at about 12.45pm on Wednesday. Ministers and state secretaries were also present.

The politicians later departed for Palace Noordeinde, where they and other dignitaries were scheduled to pay their last respects to the former queen from 2pm to 9.30pm.

Dignitaries included Ministers of State, former prime ministers, present Cabinet members. Members of both Houses of Parliament will also sign the condolence register at Noordeinde and file past Juliana’s body.

Members of the public can pay their last respects to the much-loved former queen from Thursday through until Sunday (25-28 March). The chapel in the Noordeinde Palace will be open from 9am to 10pm at night.

Princess Juliana died in her sleep surrounded by much of her immediate family at Soestdijk on Saturday morning and will be interred in the royal family tomb on Tuesday 30 March.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news