That Bernhard received so much freedom had indeed everything to do with the sad life of his predecessor, prince Hendrik. A kind man by heart, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He was selected by four conditions: 1) royal, 2) healthy, 3) protestant 4) won't be meddling in politics. Point 4 was taken very seriously. He couldn't do anything for the army as he was a former Prussian officer and a Prussian in a high position of the Dutch neutral army could harm our neutrality in the eyes of Britain and France. He received 100.000 guilders a year (2 million euros in todays value), which was a lot in 1901, but the sum never changed even though there was an enormous inflation during and after the first world war.
After the war he lost his small income from Mecklenburg ánd his relatives expected him to help them financially. He didn't have anything to say at home either. Often Wilhelmina stayed at het Loo while Hendrik was in The Hague. The notoriously frugal Wilhelmina however ordered the kitchen of the palace in The Hague to be closed as she found it too expensive to keep it open for one person (her husband). So Hendrik was forced to eat out. His money problems were well known. Business men would be afraid to be sitting next to the prince at a dinner as they feared he would be asking them for a loan.
With nothing to say and nothing useful to do the prince sought distraction where he should not have. It made him an easy pray for blackmailers. Queen Wilhelmina's dubious confidente François van 't Sant
was supposed to make sure things were hushed up. After his death there was a large debt. The inheritance was not accepted by Princess Juliana. Queen Wilhelmina did accept it and it took years before the affairs were arranged. Larter on several half-siblings of Juliana popped up. One of them -Pim Lier- was involved in a scandal in the 1980s as he had killed his wife in what was supposed to be a double suicide but had lost the courage to kill himself.
Later in life Wilhelmina and Hendrik came to an understanding. And in her memoires she recognises that it must have been hard for her husband and that he must have been very lonely. Juliana was however very fond of both her parents and she always praised her father. Both of them adored their daughter.
Hendrik''s fate was well known in royal circles too, which was one of the reasons why it was difficult for Juliana to find a husband. The Dutch government and Prime Minister Colijn didn't want to repeat the sad example of prince Hendrik. As a consequence Bernhard received a lot of freedom and his own money (Juliana's dotation was split in two after the marriage). According to Bernhard he himself had made this happen, as he heard stories about Hendrik's sad life from his father Bernhard sr. This however is incorrect, the thing was already decided before the marriage and his father died a few years before there was any talk of an engagement. Even the supposed friendship of their two fathers, an excuse that Bernhard used to get himself introduced to Juliana, was not known to anybody at the Dutch court and probably made up.
He had a position in the army and during WWII in London he was even more free to do whatever he wanted since there were very few people checking him, not many courtiers were able to follow Wilhelmina to London. He and Juliana were seperated for five years and both of them led their own lives, in Bernhards case with lots of champagne and mistresses. King George VI says that Bernhard was the only person who actually enjoyed the war. When they returned to Soestdijk in 1945 it must have been a shock for both of them. The marriage would never recover from the years apart. Bernhard perhaps didn't want it to.
As for tossing Bernhard out: I am not sure if that would have been a possibility in the 50-ties. Few European countries were changed more by the revolution of the sixties/seventies but in that time the country was one of the more religious and conservative countries in Europe. The cabinet sided with Bernhard, a divorce would most likely have led to a constitutional crisis and perhaps an abdication.
There are always two sides to a story and to a person. When he died his grandchildren all seemed terribly upset. He could be a very charming man, was a lot of fun to be around and he wasn't stupid either. He made sure that all his grandchildren would receive a proper education as they needed to provide for themselves and as they couldn't count on the RF to stay in power for ever.
Juliana wasn't the easiest person. She seemed like a sweet old granny to most of us. But in how far that carefully constructed image is the result of an act is unsure, acting was after all one of her great hobbies. The Orange propaganda machine perhaps made her everybody's favourite 'cousin', 'neighbour', 'sister' etc.
Privately she was known to have a bad temper. Former prime minister Piet de Jong -a friend of the family- said that he and his ministers referred to her 'Anna Pavlovna blood', a variation of Queen Wilhelmina referring to her 'Russian blood' whenever she threw a tantrum. Fasseur quoted a letter form 1942 already, in which Bernhard reflected how nice their meeting in Canada had been as she didn't have one of her 'explosions' this time. Also the commission of three men refers to 'fits of rage' . She could be rather difficult at times, was very opinionated and clearly had favourites among her grandchildren.
Some of her courtiers were rather 'strange', first and foremost the Baron Walraven van Heeckeren who thought the whole Hofmans-affairs was a papal plot to remove a protestant head-of-state (note that two of the members of the comitee of three wise men were catholics ánd that Pss Armgard had converted to catholicism) and also saw a neo-fascist plot where the Netherlands would be taken over by West-Germany while Bernhard was controlled by people like Eisenhower and Frits Philips.
Note that a lot of the negative Bernhard anecdotes may be biased. There is a group of stauch anti-Bernhard pseudo-historians, scenario-writers and journalists in The Netherlands. The rumours of the Ursula clinic may be just that: rumours. We need to wait at least thirty years to see how much truth there is in it.