Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was born in Soestdijk Palace on 31 January 1938. The Dutch royal family fled to Canada after the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, only to return after its liberation in the summer of 1945.
In 1966 Princess Beatrix married Claus von Amsberg. The protest initially raised over her choice of a German husband soon subsided. She was invested as queen in an extremely unruly Amsterdam on 30 April 1980. The capital had long been in the throes of rioting squatters protesting against the shortage of housing. Rallying under the slogan ‘Geen woning, geen kroning’ (No house, no coronation), the squatters announced their intention of disrupting the ceremony. Riots broke out, which were suppressed with great difficulty – and the investiture went ahead as planned.
Once on the throne, Beatrix proved to have her own views about her role as monarch. She worked hard to dispel the somewhat stuffy atmosphere, and the criticism, of the royal house. The queen once again became ‘Your Majesty’, instead of ‘Mrs’, as her mother Juliana wished to be addressed. Beatrix evolved into a modern queen, a professional. Impeccably dressed and coiffed, she has always been there for her people through thick and thin. Recently, however, her direct political involvement has been curtailed because the Lower Chamber has assumed her role in the formation of the Cabinet.