Princess Margriet of the Netherlands

Princess Margriet
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Spouse Pieter van Vollenhoven
Prince Maurits
Prince Bernhard
Prince Pieter-Christiaan
Prince Floris
Full name
Margriet Francisca
Father Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Mother Queen Juliana of the Netherlands
Born 19 January 1943 (1943-01-19) (age 67)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dutch Royal Family
Coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg

HM the Queen *

Styles of
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
NL - COA.png
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands (born 19 January 1943), Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, is the third daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. As a daughter of the late Queen Juliana and a younger sister of the current monarch, Queen Beatrix, she is currently ninth in line to the Dutch throne.

Princess Margriet often represents Queen Beatrix at official or semi-official events. Some of these functions have taken her back to Canada (her country of birth), and to events organized by the Dutch merchant navy of which she is a patron.

Birth in Canada

The Princess was born in Ottawa, Ontario, as the family had been living in Canada since June 1940 after the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany. The maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which Princess Margriet was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government. Making the maternity ward outside of the Canadian domain caused it to be unaffiliated with any jurisdiction and technically international territory. This was done to ensure that the newborn Princess would derive her citizenship from her mother only, thus making her solely Dutch.

It is a common misconception that the Canadian government declared the maternity ward to be Dutch territory. Since Dutch nationality law is based primarily on the principle of Jus sanguinis it was not necessary to make the ward Dutch territory for the Princess to become a Dutch citizen.

British nationality

Since she is a descendant of King George II of Great Britain, and is therefore theoretically in line for the British throne, she became a British subject after a 1957 court case filed by Ernest Augustus IV, Prince of Hanover (who also claimed, but did not legally have, the title Prince of Great Britain and Ireland) decided that all persons in line for the British throne are British subjects. Though this rendered previous efforts to avoid dual nationality useless, Margriet does not hold dual citizenship.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands could claim British nationality because of her descent from Sophia, Electress of Hanover. Her British nationality is based on 'The Act for the Naturalization of the Most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Issue of her Body' from 1705. This Act was repealed in 1948 and is no longer in force, but that was after her birth.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands is a direct descendant of Sophia Electress of Hannover via her great-granddaughter Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, Fürstin of Nassau née Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Hannover, Duchess of Braunschweig and Lüneburg (1709-1759).

Namesake and christening

She was named after the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of the resistance to Nazi Germany. (See also the book When Canada Was Home, the Story of Dutch Princess Margriet, by Albert VanderMey, Vanderheide.)

Princess Margriet was christened at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, on 29 June 1943. Her godparents included the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom, The Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, and The Dutch Merchant Fleet.

After the war

It was not until August 1945, when the Netherlands had been liberated, that Princess Margriet first set foot on Dutch soil. Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard returned to Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, where the family had lived before the war.

It was while she was studying at Leiden University that Princess Margriet met her future husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven. Their engagement was announced on 10 March 1965, and they were married on 10 January 1967 in The Hague. It was decreed that any children of the marriage would be styled HH Prince/Princess van Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, titles that would not be hereditary.

The Princess and her husband took up residence in the right wing of Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn. In 1975 the family moved to their present home, Het Loo, which they had built near the Palace.


Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven have four sons:

  • Prince Maurits (born 17 April 1968) m. Marilène van den Broek (b. 4 February 1970) on 29 May 1998. They have three children:
    • Anastasia (Anna) Margriet Joséphine van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (b. 15 April 2001)
    • Lucas Maurits Pieter Henri van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (b. 26 October 2002)
    • Felicia Juliana Benedicte Barbara van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (b. 31 May 2005)
  • Prince Bernhard (b. 25 December 1969) m. Annette Sekrève (b. 18 April 1972) on 6 July 2000. They have three children:
    • Isabella Lily Juliana van Vollenhoven (b. 14 May 2002)
    • Samuel Bernhard Louis van Vollenhoven (b. 25 May 2004)
    • Benjamin Pieter Floris van Vollenhoven (b. 12 March 2008)
  • Prince Pieter-Christiaan (b. 22 March 1972) m. Anita van Eijk (b. 27 October 1969) on 25 August 2005. They have two children:
    • Emma Francisca Catharina van Vollenhoven (b. 28 November 2006)
    • Pieter Anton Maurits Erik van Vollenhoven (b. 19 November 2008)
  • Prince Floris (b. 10 April 1975) m. Aimée Söhngen (b. 19 October 1977) on 20 October 2005. They have two children:
    • Magali Margriet Eleonoor van Vollenhoven (b. 9 October 2007)
    • Eliane Sophia Carolina van Vollenhoven (b. 5 July 2009)

Upon the marriage of Prince Maurits to Marie-Helene van den Broek in 1998, it was announced that the couple's children would bear the surname Van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven. The children of Prince Bernhard, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris will be known by the surname Van Vollenhoven.

Since neither Prince Pieter-Christiaan nor Prince Floris applied for Parliamentary approval for their marriages, as required in the Netherlands, they lost their place in the succession when they married.


Facts and figures

A commemorative ceramic plate by the American pottery firm of Lamberton & Scammel was commissioned by the Netherlands Aid Society to celebrate the birth of the Royal Princess.

The inscription on the plate reads:

Zoo Ver van Huis,
God Geve U Drie Geschenken:
Een Haantje Dat Holland's Victorie Kraajt,
Een Vaantje Dat Vrij Voor Oranje Waajt,
Twee Klompjes Om Te Staan Op Holland's Grond,
Als Ons Volk U Juichend Zijn Liefde Verkondt.
God Geve Die Drie Geschenken!

Which loosely translates as:

Scion of Orange
So Far from Home,
May God Bestow Three Gifts on Thee:
A Cockerel Crowing Holland's Victory,
A Banner Flowing for Orange's Liberty,
Two Clogs to Stand on Holland's Soil,
As Our People Lovingly Thee Extol.
May God Bestow These Gifts on Thee!

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa as thanks for having housed the Royal Family and declaring the Hospital in which Princess Margriet was born Dutch territory. They have sent tulips every year since.

In 1961 Margriet won the first prize at the Keegelfestival, a bowling event in Heerhugowaard.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Cadet branch of the House of Lippe
Born: 19 January 1943
Dutch royalty
Preceded by
Countess Leonore
Line of succession to the Dutch Throne
9th position
Succeeded by
Prince Maurits
British royalty
Preceded by
Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau
Line of succession to the British throne Succeeded by
Lucas van Vollenhoven van Lippe-Biesterfeld

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