Tenth Anniversary of Prince Claus’s Death
October 6th, 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands’ passing. He was the husband of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and the father of His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange.
Prince Claus passed away in 2002, from pneumonia, with his immediate family by his side. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease since 1991, and had also beaten prostate cancer. The Prince spent his final two weeks in the Amsterdam Medical Centre, where he had been admitted with a lung infection. He had spent much time in hospital in the last months of his life. The Prince was aged seventy-six; he celebrated his birthday exactly one month prior.
The first royal funeral in Holland since 1962, Prince Claus’s funeral took place on October 15th in Delft. His coffin was transported from the hospital to Palace Huis ten Bosch on October 7th, before being moved to Palace Noordeinde, where he laid in state for four days. Over 90,000 people paid their respects to the Prince over the four days. On the morning of the funeral, the Prince’s three sons, Willem-Alexander, Friso and Constantijn, stood on the steps of Palace Noordeinde as their father’s coffin was placed into a purple coach with silver plumes to make its way to the Nieuwe Kerk for the funeral service. The three Princes joined the funeral procession, which stopped in Rijswijk to allow Queen Beatrix, Princess Máxima and Princess Laurentien to join.
The funeral service was led by Reverend C.A. ter Linden, and lasted one hour. Queen Beatrix was supported through the church by Prince Friso, before they entered the family vault of the church where the Prince was laid to rest. Following the funeral, a reception was held at Palace Noordeinde.
Prince Claus was born on September 6th, 1926 in Hitzacker, Germany as Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg, the only son of Claus von Amsberg and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen (he had six sisters – Sigrid, Rixa, Margit, Barbara, Theda and Christina). Growing up in Nazi Germany, Claus was a member of the Hitler Youth, which drew heavy criticism upon his engagement to the heir to the Dutch throne, Beatrix, in 1965. The Dutch people had yet to forgive the Germans for their inflictions during the Second World War, and a German man – who had been a Hitler Youth and served in the German military – was not considered a suitable partner for Princess Beatrix. Their wedding procession on March 10th, 1966 was marred by a smoke bomb thrown by a protest group.
Prince Claus and Princess Beatrix welcomed three sons: Prince Willem-Alexander (b. 1967), Prince Friso (b. 1968) and Prince Constantijn (b. 1969). In 1980, Queen Juliana abdicated the throne and Princess Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands, Claus the Prince Consort. During his time as a Prince, Claus worked tirelessly for numerous causes, the most prevalent being third-world development. He established the Prince Claus Fund in 1996, to seek “cultural collaborations”. Prince Claus became one of the most beloved members of the Dutch Royal Family.
The Prince was survived by his wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law, five sisters and one granddaughter – Countess Eloise, born in June 2002. He now has eight grandchildren: the Prince of Orange’s three daughters, Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane; Prince Friso’s two daughters, Luana and Zaria; and Prince Constantijn’s three children, Eloise, Claus-Casimir and Leonore.
Read more about Prince Claus here.Filed under The Netherlands
Tagged Anniversary, Biography, Death, Prince Claus of the Netherlands.