Beatrix of the Netherlands

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A young Princess Beatrix van Amsberg, former Queen of the Netherlands
Queen Beatrix

Beatrix (Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Amsberg[1]; born 31 January 1938 in Paleis Soestdijk as Beatrix van Lippe-Biesterfeld[2]) is the former queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, having reigned from 1980 to 2013. Following her abdication on 30 April 2013, she is once again known as Princess Beatrix.


Beatrix is the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and former German aristocrat Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld[3], a former member of the Reiter-SS (SS Cavalry Corps). In 1948, she became heiress presumptive to the throne of the Netherlands. When her mother, Juliana of the Netherlands, abdicated on 30 April 1980, Beatrix succeeded her as queen. With the ascension of their daughter Beatrix in 1980, the name of the Royal House remained known as the House of Orange-Nassau, although Beatrix and her sisters are agnatically[4] members of the House of Lippe.

The monarch is also the head of the Bilderberg Group (succeeding her father Prince Bernhard). She is not a paternal descendent of the House of Nassau from William the Silent and there are doubts that she is even related to King William I (which a requirement for succession under Article 24 of the Dutch constitution).[5] She is a cultural leftist who decries xenophobia and the rightwing in her annual Christmas broadcasts and was known to fete leftist luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan in the 1990s.


Her son Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander succeeded her as King on 30 April 2013.

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  1. The House of Amsberg (German: von Amsberg, Dutch: van Amsberg) is the name of a German noble family from Mecklenburg, the senior line of which also forms the royal house of the Netherlands, styled as van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg (Orange-Nassau-Amsberg). Descended from a blacksmith, parish priest August Amsberg (1747–1820) started calling himself "von Amsberg" in 1795 and the family's right to use this name was confirmed by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1891. By this permission to use a noble privilege, the family effectively became part of the untitled lower nobility of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Members of the family live in the Netherlands and in Northern Germany. Its most notable member is the family's current head (i.e. senior male line descendant), King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Both King Willem-Alexander and other members of the Dutch royal family hold the title "Jonkheer (or female Jonkvrouw) van Amsberg," and members of the Dutch royal family use the surname "van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg."
  2. The House of Lippe (German: Haus Lippe) is a German Royal House. The House of Lippe descends from Count Jobst Hermann of Lippe (died ca. 1056) whose son Bernhard I was the founder of the German state of Lippe in 1123. In 1613, the House's territory was split into Lippe-Detmold, Lippe-Brake and Lippe-Alverdissen. In 1643 Count Philipp of Lippe-Alverdissen founded the Schaumburg-Lippe line of the House of Lippe. In 1905 with the death of Prince Alexander the senior Lippe-Detmold branch of the family became extinct with Count Leopold of Lippe-Biesterfeld succeeding him as Prince. With the German Revolution of 1918–19, the Princes of Lippe and Schaumburg-Lippe were forced to abdicate, ending the family's 795-year rule in Lippe. The princely family still ownes the estate and castle at Detmold, Germany. Current head of the House of Lippe is Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Lippe-
  3. In 1937, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld married Princess Juliana of the Netherlands.
  4. Agnatic seniority is a patrilineal principle of inheritance where the order of succession to the throne prefers the monarch's younger brother over the monarch's own sons. A monarch's children (the next generation) succeed only after the males of the elder generation have all been exhausted. Agnatic seniority essentially excludes females of the dynasty and their descendants from the succession. Contrast agnatic primogeniture, where the king's sons stand higher in succession than his brothers.
  5. Dutch constitution in English