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Queen Juliana

Dutch royalty, Queen of the Netherlands (1948-80), Princess Juliana of the Netherlands (1980-2004), mother of Queen Beatrix.

Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina

Date, time and place of birth: April 30, 1909, at 6:50 a.m., Palace Noordeinde, The Hague, the Netherlands *

Date, time, place and cause of death: March 20, 2004, at 5:50 a.m., Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Utrecht, the Netherlands (Pneumonia / Alzheimer's disease)

Spouse: Prince Bernhard (m. January 7, 1937 - March 20, 2004) (her death)
Wedding took place in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Daughters: Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard (b. January 31, 1938, at 9:47 a.m., Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Utrecht, Netherlands)
Irene Emma Elisabeth (b. August 5, 1939, Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Utrecht, Netherlands)
Margriet Francisca (b. January 19, 1943, Ottawa Civic Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Marijke Christina (b. February 18, 1947, Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Utrecht, Netherlands)

Father: Prince Hendrik
Mother: Queen Wilhelmina

Burial site: The royal crypt, Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Delft, Netherlands

Birth information source
* Source: Birth records


Juliana was Princess Regent of the Netherlands October-December 1947, and May-August 1948, when, for health reasons, her mother, Queen Wilhelmina was unable to perform her duties. The shy and soft-spoken Juliana ascended to the throne in September of 1948. Queen Juliana quickly endeared herself to her nation with her down-to-earth manners. She was known as the "people's queen" and also the "bicycling monarch" for her penchant for bicycling around her capital. Uncomfortable with ceremony and pomp, she dispensed with convention by abolishing the curtsey and other formalities which she found embarrassing or considered outdated. Not only did she send her daughters to public schools, but it was not unusual to find Queen Juliana shopping at the local supermarket in a common housewife's dress. The informal queen sometimes startled visitors by personally serving them tea or by sitting comfortably on the floor. Her no-nonsense attitude and tireless work on behalf of social issues and child welfare, won the deep affection and respect of her subjects.

Her Royal Highness presided over the dismantling of the centuries-old Dutch empire. She handed independence to Indonesia in 1949, ending 346 years of colonial rule of the Dutch East Indies. Suriname gained its independence in 1975, ending Dutch rule that dated back to 1667.

The unpretentious Queen Juliana managed to avoid the major scandals that dogged the British royal family, but her reign was marred by a few scandals. The first involved her youngest daughter Christina, who was born nearly blind. When doctors offered little hope of a cure, Juliana found herself increasingly influenced by a machiavellian faith healer. Her relationship with the "healer" who'd actually moved into the royal palace, caused increasing marital strife for the royal couple. The controversy surrounding the faith healer erupted into a national debate over the competency of the Queen and caused something of a political crisis in 1956. Detractors called the faith healer, "the Rasputin of the House of Orange," or "the female Rasputin." After officials advised Juliana to break off all relations with Hofmans to quell the escalating storm of controversy, she did just that.

Another scandal ensued when it was revealed Queen Juliana's husband, Prince Bernhard, received bribes totaling over a million dollars from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed in his capacity as inspector-general of the Dutch armed forces. The 1976 Lockheed bribery scandal forced the Prince to relinquish his military titles and all his public offices after an investigation determined he had solicited bribes from the U.S. plane manufacturer to influence the Dutch government's purchase of fighter aircraft.

On April 30th, 1980 -- her 71st birthday -- Queen Juliana abdicated in favor of her daughter Beatrix, at which point she became known as Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. Juliana's 2004 death was the result of pneumonia.

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