Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Remembering... Prince Claus of the Netherlands

Not many people can claim there were more protestors than revellers at their wedding, but that was certainly the case when, in March 1966, German-born Claus von Amsberg married Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands; with the Second World War still fresh in many memories, the idea that the future Queen would marry a German national didn't sit well with the normally tolerant Dutch population, and especially rankled the Dutch group Provo.

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1926, von Amsberg was conscripted by the Wehrmacht and served with the 90th Panzergrenadier Division in 1945 but was taken prisoner by the US before he could take place in any fighting; following the war, he served in the Germany's diplomatic corps, posted in the Dominican Republic and Côte d'Ivoire before returning to Bonn - then the West German capital.

The future royal couple met at the wedding night party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse in the summer of 1964, and were soon engaged. Despite their initial reticence, the more the Dutch got to know Claus the more they liked him. His work on behalf of the developing world was highly respected everywhere, but to those who met him his best quality was his approachability, his utter lack of snobbishness.

Before his death on this day in 2002 Prince Claus was said to be the most popular member of the House of Orange-Nassau, having come a long way in a short time to heal wounds so grave some said they would never heal...
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