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Marengo 10-14-2008 07:18 AM

Greet Hofmans Crisis - A Faith Healer at the Dutch Court
 
In this thread we can iscuss the crisis over faith healer Greet Hofmans that shook the Dutch monarchy in the 50-ties and that severely damaged the marriage of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.

From this wikipedia page some info about her and the crisis:

Quote:

Greet Hofmans (23 June 1894, Amsterdam – 16 November 1968, Amsterdam) was a faith healer and hand layer. For nine years she was a friend and advisor of Queen Juliana, often residing at Palace Soestdijk.
Hofmans was introduced on the initiative of Prince Bernhard in 1948 to treat the eye sickness of Princess Marijke Christina. This illness arose after Juliana was infected with rubella during the pregnancy. Hofmans developed a great influence on the queen, encouraging pacifist ideas. In the period of the Cold War this caused a crisis in the royal household. Reputedly it reached the point where it threatened the marriage of Juliana and Bernhard.
Outside the Netherlands a great deal was written over the Hofmans affair. On 13 June 1956 an article appeared in the German magazine Der Spiegel with the title Zwischen Königin und Rasputin, literally meaning Between queen and Rasputin. Reportedly it was Bernhard who provided the information for the article, by which means he hoped to have Hofmans removed from the court.
The cabinet of Willem Drees banned the import of that edition of the magazine and on 28 June 1956 appointed a commission of enquiry of former ministers Louis Beel and Gerbrandy and former governor-general of the Dutch East Indies A. W. L. Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, the Beel Commission. The outcome was the termination of Hofmans' contacts with the court and the reorganisation of the royal household.
Through the secrecy imposed on the official side and the self-censorship of the Netherlands press, the Hofmans affair took on a life of its own. Some have speculated that the affair was simply a mask for a looming divorce of the royal couple.
Hofmans retained until her death followers of the higher circles, who saw in her the personification of the ideal life: sober, peaceful, free of self-interest, and directed at the fellow man. Others viewed her however as a charlatan, an intrigante and a dangerous witch, or at best a naive figure.
As of 2004 the report of the Beel Commission is still secret. On 7 February Bernhard in an open letter to the Volkskrant newspaper wrote "with respect to the so-named Hofmans affair, I recall that the Beel Commission in 1956 conducted an exhaustive investigation. The report of this commission is for formal reasons still not public, therefore I express here my confidence that the eventual publication will place all those involved in this complex affair in the correct light".
The Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (association against charlatans, or quackery) has ranked Hofmans in the 14th place of the top twenty charlatans of the 20th century.

Marengo 10-14-2008 07:22 AM

On November 11th the book by Prof. Cees Fasseur about the Greet Hofmans crisis will be available at stores. Prof. Fasseur is known for his extensive 2-volume biography of Queen Wilhelmina and now has written about the crisis that lasted from 1949 to 1956, until the comission Beel removed Greet Hofmans from court. Fasseur got access to personal documents of Juliana and Bernhard and to the Royal Archives in Te Hague.

Article in Dutch + book cover here.

--
I must say I am surprised HM allowed this to be written so quickly after the death of her parents.

marmi 10-14-2008 05:36 PM

Yes it is quite soon isnt it?

I just want to check that I am understanding this correctly: They say that it nearly destroyed the marriage because Greet Hofmans & Prince Bernhard disagreed/advised the Queen differently?

Its an interesting topic, thanks for bringing it to attention Marengo.

Marengo 10-14-2008 05:45 PM

It was more than giving opposite advice, Juliana became very pascifist, religious/spiritual etc. The relationship with her husband became very bad, some claim that at one point he wanted to put her in the Ursula clinic in Wassenaar, a clinic for insane people. Of course the reason why Bernhard would do such a thing can be debated: was his wife really under the spell of Miss Hofmans or was he over ambitious and wanted to become a regent? Or is the story of the clinic completely false (the most likely option IMO)?

During this crisis the couple lived in seperate wings of Soestdijk palace, with their own courtiers etc. Some say they kept their seperate wings even after the crisis was over. What is true is that they had seperate bedrooms ever since and prince Bernhard had several other women. He had a female companion, Miss Cocky Gilles, who was basically his wife since the 70-ties.

Odette 10-14-2008 11:27 PM

Marengo was that lady (his wife) the mother of the two girls he acknowledge as his own before his death?

Marengo 10-15-2008 02:36 AM

No, mrs. Cocky Gilles was his private secretary. The youngest extramarital daughter is Alexia, by Helene Grinda. The eldest one is Alicia de Bielefeld, by an former German-American pilot. Note that Alicia was born in 1952, in the middle of the Greet Hofmans crisis.

lucien 10-15-2008 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marmi (Post 837490)
Yes it is quite soon isnt it?

I just want to check that I am understanding this correctly: They say that it nearly destroyed the marriage because Greet Hofmans & Prince Bernhard disagreed/advised the Queen differently?

Its an interesting topic, thanks for bringing it to attention Marengo.

It was Bernhard who introduced Greet Hofmans at Court in the first place.

She was introduced to him by some dutch aristocrat who had way too much time on his hands
and was a little gaga in the spiritual/esoterial field.

It has always been assumed,never proven,assumed,that it was Greet who had such influence over Juliana,
she was even called the dutch Rasputin....

I wonder,it was Juliana herself who had the ideas she had,and she found sort of a soulmate in Greet Hofmans,that is the clue in this relationship I believe.But as matters got out of hand,ie,Bernhard and Juliana both had their camps in the Palace,pro Juliana or pro Bernhard,and,especially the latter,came up with the most farsought nonsens in regards to The Queen possible.
The spoilt rotten german boy and his wife,The Queen of The Netherlands.It was the spoilt rotten german boy who got away with the conniving in the end.

But not before he leaked the marriage difficulties,and blaming Greet Hofmans in the process,to the british press which in turn triggered some
action both in Juliana´s camp as well as with the government.At the hight of the crisis,in the mid fifties (1955-1956),a commission was
installed on behalve of the Government to clean this mess up.They did,Greet was banned from Court,and as Juliana felt betrayed by her husband,she demanded a divorce.The Commission `of wise man` as it was called,prevented that from happening,and the government
simply didn´t allow it.

The rift was huge,and it would take decades to heal.As Bernhard told himself....at the end of his life....when he obviously missed
dear Juliana more then he had ever thought himself possible.She never stopped loving him,and he never stopped loving himself.

It must have been enormously difficult for dear Juliana,must have been very very lonely for her.Allthough,Greet Hofmans was banned from Court,yes,but the two always remained in contact,mostly so in the spiritual gatherings at Het Oude Loo Castle near Het Loo Palace,that also saw the Lady of Het Loo,then Princess Wilhelmina,amongst them.

But,as there is always one that catches the cat,Greet became the scapegoat in the "Bernhard Field".The latter being a reference to the two "powers" at Soestdijk Palace,Juliana's,housed in one wing,Bernhard in the other and he did a lot to have his wife,The Queen,regarded as gaga.His eldest daughter,our present Queen,as always,took the side of her father.....Girls often do that don´t they,take their dads side in matters...

Bernhard has strongly denied,later in life,he wished the Queen to be labelled a lunatic and subsequent abdication in favour of his eldest daughter,as was signalled by the Juliana camp at Soestdijk Palace....but then he was of the denying kind........It,the facts,must be somewhere deep deep down in the Royal Archives.

Wonder if the new book on Greet Hofmans will reveal more then we already know.

Marengo 10-15-2008 06:30 AM

Considering how sensitive and very personal all this is I really wonder how much Prof. Fasseur was alowed to see/publish. I can't imagine he will have anything/much about Beatrix taking her fathers side for example.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lucien
She never stopped loving him,and he never stopped loving himself.

That was their marriage in a nutshell IMHO.

---

I believe that in the 90-ties the press showed pictures of the grave of Greet Hofmans, and that fresh flowers were put there each week or so. They said they came from princess Juliana...

lucien 10-15-2008 08:33 AM

Greet Hofmans grave at "Zorgvliet" cemetary,Amsterdam..

Dood in Nederland

marmi 10-15-2008 04:23 PM

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of that Lucien (& Marengo). Now I have something to ponder.

Odette 10-15-2008 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marengo (Post 837646)
No, mrs. Cocky Gilles was his private secretary. The youngest extramarital daughter is Alexia, by Helene Grinda. The eldest one is Alicia de Bielefeld, by an former German-American pilot. Note that Alicia was born in 1952, in the middle of the Greet Hofmans crisis.

Thanks Marengo. BTW I had seen pictures of P Bernhard and Q Juliana when they were young and always wondered what kind of a love affaire that one was.
However P Bernhard seemed to have had a lot of interests outside the marriage to keep him busy enough.:whistling:

Wow Lucien.........What a story. I hope that book is printed in English as well. It must be fascinating to read. Poor Juliana!

Marengo 11-07-2008 06:21 PM

Royal Blog has a special page with a lot of information about the new publication and former ones about the Hofmand crisis.

Look here (in Dutch only).

lucien 11-08-2008 07:04 AM

A good find for the Press Museum indeed.Although a dumb man,said journalist Lunshof,that van Walraven van Heeckeren van Molecaten,
a blabbermouth at Court,unfit for his position,who saw his "Kingdom" crumble into smitherines as Hofmans was kicked out of the Palace.
He was private secretary to HM Queen Juliana (-and the one aristo that introduced Greet Hofmans to Bernhard in the first place...),
his wife a Lady in Waiting and his mother the grandmastress of the Court.All that was vamos after the affair,
so the little nobody couldn't shut up.Petty nobleman.So much for loyalty and discretion.Take his words with the odd salt really.In fact,it was van Heeckeren who requested Lunshof never to publish his interview as he knew full well,I suppose,that he was totally besides the mark,ie,should be deeply ashamed for his indiscretions

Small wonder that,even more since then,our House of Orange-Nassau doesn't employ all that many nobles but prefer brains instead.
They cluster and think THEY are/run the Royal Family after a while,which they never will be ofcourse.Our days are gone in that respect.Todays nobles might find some among them who long for the days of "their positions" at Court and complain,but then they cluster once at Court and believe it is actually them that rule/claim a prominence they never posess.

Our present Queen was very very adamant about one thing,something like the Greet Hofmans affair,or simular,would not ever happen again,hence her strict management rules and good sense for putting brains at positions instead of empty titles and frumpiness.What she experienced in those 50's almost traumatised all the girls,except Christina,she was the "baby" and at the time,a spoilt rotten one at that.But,enfin,that has all changed,she's a truly wonderfull Lady.Remember,it was because of wee Christina's eyesight,or lack of that,that Hofmans was introduced at Court in the first place.Juliana as a mother,never forgave herself for the eye troubles of her baby,and did everything to cure/help her child.Which is totally understandeble I would say.It's just with Hofmans around,she threw herself into that believe her new found friend could really help,but she was a fraud.

To understand some of our history,our present Queens actions/Court,this nightmare of an affair,impregnated her at the young age between 12 and 18.

Marengo 11-08-2008 06:38 PM

Well, he can be dumb, a blabbermouth and much more but that does not mean that parts of the story can't be true. The difficult relation of Queen Juliana with her eldest daughter is basically common knowledge, even discussed by princess Margarita in her infamous interviews with HP/De Tijd.

Considering the count belonged to Juliana's side of the court his story might be biased indeed, and esp. if you consider that it was him (or his wife) who introduced Greet Hofmans to the Queen. He obviously wants to present Bernhard as the evil character here, but dispite that even has a few positive remarks about the prince. That princess Armgard was a rather shrewd woman isn't surprising either, we heard that before too.

It is just a very sad family history, the eye sight, the faith healer, an insecure Queen and an unreliable, unfaithful and unloving husband. A very sad combination of factors.

Regina 11-08-2008 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marengo (Post 849572)

It is just a very sad family history, the eye sight, the faith healer, an insecure Queen and an unreliable, unfaithful and unloving husband. A very sad combination of factors.

Yes, it may be a sad story but it IS indeed a very interesting one.

Thank you, Lucien and Marengo for your posts. :smile:

You say Greet Hofmans was a faith healer.
I have a question for you: What was her religion at the time? Was she a protestant, a roman catholic, etc...?

Marengo 11-08-2008 07:48 PM

She was an 'alternative healer' and 'laid hands'. According to wikipedia she was an admirer of Jiddu Krishnamurti, a spiritual and philosophical teacher from India. I don't know mrs. Hofmans religious background but since she was from Amsterdam it could be both protestant as catholic as these were the largest religions of the city at that time, followed by the Jewish faith.

Lakshmi 11-08-2008 08:41 PM

Marengo and lucien thanks abput telling the details of "Hofmans affair". What the painful story. Poor Julianna, her life with Bernhard was so miserable.

Mandrake 11-09-2008 06:45 PM

Hofmans was a protestant. I believe Fasseur mentioned this in his book on Wilhelmina. Van Molecaten also states so in the interview.
Van Molecaten disliked catholics (and communists and socialists).

I do hope Fasseur will mention the letter Queen Wilhelmina wrote about the Hofmans affair. The letter is mentioned in the book about the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (goverment information service) by Marja Wagenaar (1997). One BIG effect of the Hofmans crisis was that the competing palace press secretaries (Berhard and Juliana had seperate ones) were sacked and the Goverment Information Service took over.
If I recall correctly Wilhelmina aknowledges in her letter that her daughter made some mistakes but also states that Juliana never abused her powers. (interesting phrasing if you look at the constitutional rules in the Netherlands)
I was surprised that this letter wasn't mentioned in Fasseurs biography of Wilhelmina.
Fasseur stated that Wilhelmina completely supported Juliana in the Hofmans-affair.

lucien 11-10-2008 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mandrake (Post 850017)
Hofmans was a protestant. I believe Fasseur mentioned this in his book on Wilhelmina. Van Molecaten also states so in the interview.
Van Molecaten disliked catholics (and communists and socialists).

I do hope Fasseur will mention the letter Queen Wilhelmina wrote about the Hofmans affair. The letter is mentioned in the book about the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (goverment information service) by Marja Wagenaar (1997). One BIG effect of the Hofmans crisis was that the competing palace press secretaries (Berhard and Juliana had seperate ones) were sacked and the Goverment Information Service took over.
If I recall correctly Wilhelmina aknowledges in her letter that her daughter made some mistakes but also states that Juliana never abused her powers. (interesting phrasing if you look at the constitutional rules in the Netherlands)
I was surprised that this letter wasn't mentioned in Fasseurs biography of Wilhelmina.
Fasseur stated that Wilhelmina completely supported Juliana in the Hofmans-affair.

I do hope too that Fasseur now finally has all the skeletons out of the closet so this case will be closed and stored where it belongs.
In history.

Looking forward to the letter you mention,ofcourse Wilhelmina supported Juliana,as a mother would,and as a person that shared some
of her daughters interests in the spiritual life.And the love for the children ofcourse,there always was that,and the girls loved to stay with their grandmother at Het Loo,especially during that time,out of a tense environment into the bliss of Het Loo and its grounds.You don't find that mentioned too often,almost never,that HM and her sisters have,to this day,dear memories of their time at Het Loo with our Willemien.

Other then that,I'm afraid our dear beloved Queen Juliana didn't always go by the rules & guidelines we thought she always has either.All I hope is it will be a fair piece of work,fair to all parties involved,thruthfull,leaving little to the imagination.I could imagine our RF will be relieved when all the hullabaloo subsides,as news always does the next day.

Must have been a traumatic time for all the girls,who would blame them to see the subject come to rest again and they can really close that episode forever.Allthough I believe some documents are not to be released till after 50 or 100 years after the death of the persons involved,as often is the case,more something for Amalia's grandaughter/son by that time.

Pier Gerlofs Donia 11-10-2008 03:43 AM

Ah, the greet hofmans affair! Reminds me a bit of Rasputin in Russia in the old Tsarist family; he also seemingly drove apart the tsar and the tsarina and got a lot of influence. The seem happened with Greet Hofmans, only that she did not get quite as much influence (dutch mentality, probably). Luckily the Dutch are a down-to-earth people. :)

Also: often, 100 years after someones death they re-open a file publically: I am anxious for 2017: Mata Hari's file (was she really a spy)?


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