Queen Juliana (1909), mother of Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands.
Daughter of Wilhelmina and Hendrik
Royal baby Juliana was born on April 30, 1909 in The Hague. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik, who gave her the full name Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina of Orange-Nassau, also Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and later Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The princess had a lonesome childhood. Because her birth secured the Dutch royal dynasty, the people were very enthusiastic about the little girl and at her birthdays the streets would be filled with people to celebrate.
Juliana studied at the University of Leiden from 1927 to 1930. She did not enter a regular program, but followed courses that would fit into her learning as a queen to be, mainly literature and religion. In the years of crisis in the early thirties, the princess focussed mainly on social issues. She was one of the initiators to the National Crisis Committee, which supported the numerous victims of the economic bad times. After her father's death in 1934, she also became chairwoman of the Dutch Red Cross. In September 1936 her engagement to Bernhard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld was announced. Four months later they married in The Hague. They would have four daughters: Beatrix (1938), Irene (1939), Margriet (1943) en Christina (1947). During the war, Juliana spent most of her time in Canada. She also visited Dutch colonies Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
Due to health problems, her mother Wilhelmina had to make place. On September 6, 1948, Juliana received the Dutch crown in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Her first main action was to sign the sovereignty of Indonesia in 1949. Queen Juliana was closely involved with the formation of the governments of many prime ministers, of whom Willem Drees, Joop den Uyl and Dries van Agt are the best known. She continued her work on the social level, giving her name to the Koningin Juliana Fonds (Queen Juliana Fund) that still provides financial support to social-cultural institutions. Her social heart made her a very popular queen. Still her birthday is celebrated every year on April 30: Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) is the most outrageous and festive day of the Dutch year, with orange being the only colour seen in the streets.
At the age of 70, she announced on national television that she would abdicate in favour of her daughter Beatrix, who since then is Queen of the Netherlands. In February 1999 she stopped attending official meetings because of health problems. Recently her husband Bernhard admitted Juliana was suffering from severe loss of memory, possibly Alzheimer's disease.