Princess Irene of the Netherlands Turns 74

  August 5, 2013 at 2:00 am by

August 5th, 2013

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Princess Irene of the Netherlands turned 74 on August 5th. The Princess is a younger sister of the former Queen Beatrix and an aunt of the present monarch, King Willem Alexander.

The Princess was born at the Soestdijk Palace, a month before the outbreak of World War II, as the second daughter of the future Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The Dutch Royal Family fled to the United Kingdom in May 1940 following the Nazis invasion of the Netherlands, and later resettled in Canada until the end of the war.

In 1963, Princess Irene converted to Roman Catholicism and a year later she married the future Carlist Pretender, Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma. The marriage and her conversion caused a storm in the then conservative Netherlands, Princess Irene renounced her rights of succession to the Dutch throne. The marriage, which took place in Rome, was held on April 29th,1964 with no members of the Dutch Royal Family in attendance.

The couple had four children, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1981. Prince Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma died in August 2010. Princess Irene most recently attended the abdication ceremony of her older sister Beatrix and the investiture ceremony of her nephew, Willem-Alexander, in April of this year.

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