Princess Annette is the wife of Prince Bernhard, second son of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. She was born, Annette Sekrève on the 18th April 1972 in The Hague, and after she had passed the highest award in Dutch secondary education, she went to the University of Groningen and obtained an MSc in psychology in 1996. It was while she was studying at Groningen that she met Prince Bernhard who was there studying for his MSc in marketing and market research, following time at Georgetown University.
The couple announced their engagement in May 2000 and were married that July, with a civil ceremony on 6th July in Utrecht. This was blessed two days later, with a service at Cathedral of St Martin in Utrecht. The couple has three children; Isabella (2002), Samuel (2004) and Benjamin (2008), and live quietly in Amsterdam only appearing on the main royal days such as King’s Day. It was announced in 2013 that Annette’s husband, Prince Bernhard was suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as Crohn’s disease.
Although, after her marriage, Princess Annette was given the courtesy title of Her Highness, and following the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013, it was confirmed all children of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven would no longer be eligible succeed to the throne. This is because the Membership of the Royal Houses Act requires “a maximum of three degrees of Kinship.” Hence, Prince Bernhard and her children, like those of Prince Maurits are not Prince and Princess.
While her husband is a self-employed entrepreneur, Princess Annette has worked since 2000 as a counsellor for the AGO Foundation. This group has recently merged with another organisation Cordaan; together they work in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas to provide housing and day care for people with intellectual disabilities. In addition to her work with them, the Princess also collaborates with a number of foundations including the De Belevenis (The Experience) project in Groningen, which started with 16 volunteers in 2010 and is growing.