In the early hours of the evening of 1 December Prince Bernard of The Netherlands died in a hospital in The Hague in The Netherlands. The 93 years old Prince suffered from the effects of a tumour and chose not to continue treatment. Even so, his quick death surprised many Dutchmen.
Prince Bernard was a colourful figure who had an important position in his adoptive country. He was also a man surrounded by mystery and scandals, but mostly a man who has done great things for The Netherlands. In the years before the Second World War Bernard married Juliana, the Dutch princes who was preparing to follow in the footsteps of her mother Wilhelmina, the Dutch Queen. Bernard was a German nobleman, born on 29 June 1911 in Jena as son of Prince Bernhard von Lippe and Barones Armgard von Sierstorpff-Cramm and managed to become popular in The Netherlands with his charm and flamboyant life style.
Although years after the war a membership card of the German Nazi party came to light, Bernard will most be remembered as a leader of the Dutch fight against the occupation of Nazi Germany of The Netherlands. Out of England he had widespread contacts with the allied forces and the resistance in The Netherlands, building a bond with these brave men and woman who lasts to this day.
After the war and after Juliana took the throne Bernard was active in promoting Dutch economy and culture. He was also one of the founding fathers of the World Wildlife Fund and continued to the last day of his life to promote the protection of nature. In an interview, only days for his death, he again warned humanity to protect wildlife.
Bernard was popular, but also a sort of a loose canon in the Royal family. He came under fire for taking brides in the Seventies to promote aircrafts to the Dutch military. Only last year he took to his hearth the cause of two supermarket employees who apprehended a thief with to much force, offering to pay a fine for them.
Bernard had a sometimes stumbling marriage with Juliana. The had different visions of the world, colliding in the Greet Hofman affair. A Dutch spiritual woman had gained influence on Juliana, who promoted peace, while Bernard stayed the military man.
Prince Bernard will be buried in the Dutch Royal grave in Leiden. The exact date is not yet known.