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The Netherlands

Princess Irene deeply hurt by new biography on Queen Juliana

Princess Irene, sister of former Queen Beatrix and aunt to current King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, is “deeply hurt” by the content of the new biography on her mother, Queen Juliana, which was accompanied by a TV documentary. She spoke on NPO Radio 2, “I find it to be a shocking book. It really hurt me”.

The new Dutch-language biography of Queen Juliana (Juliana – Vorstin in een mannenwereld or Juliana – Queen in a men’s world) zooms in on Queen Juliana’s marriage to Prince Bernhard, which was far from happy. Princess Irene feels the author of the book was too liberal in her interpretations, calling it “dangerous to interpret what people were think, if you weren’t even there”. Things that were written about Queen Juliana’s and Prince Bernhard’s private life are not correct according to Princess Irene’s “experience and memory”. She refuses to go into details but calls it “not right to speak about family life. Every family has a right to a life behind closed doors”.

The author paints the pictures of a lonely woman, who wished to divorce Prince Bernhard twice. She also alleges that Prince Bernhard molested young girls while living at Soestdijk Palace. The book also touches on the Lockheed scandal, in which Prince Bernhard took a $1.1 million bribe from Lockheed to ensure the Lockheed F-104 would win out over the Mirage 5 for the purchase contract, the Greet Hofmans scandal, a faith healer who influenced the Queen and Prince Bernhard’s many extramarital affairs. Shortly before his death he admitted to fathering two illegitimate daughters with two different women. Princess Irene questions what the point was of digging up all the old scandals again.

Princess Irene did not wish to comment on the rest of the family’s reaction to the book. She said, “I’m speaking for myself”.