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Fourteen second-generation 'Oranje's' make their individual marks

Only Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander willingly in public eye

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands - Former Queen, now Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard have fourteen grandchildren of which eleven - the males - could make up an entire soccer team, as the Dutch say. Although the scions, especially Crown Prince Willem Alexander, are avid sports fans, their individual tastes run different. As do their official duties and the way they are developing their own path through life. Only the children of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus and of Princess Margriet and Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven are 'royals' and in line for the throne. Juliana and Bernhard's daughters Irene and Christina married without seeking consent of the Dutch parliament and, as a result, abandoned their royal status, but keeping princely titles. Their children have no claim to the Dutch throne.

Crown Prince Willem Alexander (29) is the eldest of Queen Beatrix' and Prince Claus' three sons. As such he is the heir apparent and groomed in state affairs. The prince has representative duties, is - like his father - a member of the Raad van State (chaired by his mother), the highest and ultimate council to the government, and he is a special aide to the Queen. He studied history and holds commissions in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Willem Alexander has represented his mother at public affairs in the Netherlands as well as abroad, has worked as a pilot for Martinair and is patron of the Dutch Olympic Committee. The bachelor's name has been linked in tabloids to most of the eligible nobility of Europe and more persistently to a coed at Leyden University. Willem Alexander also has (incognito registered as Van Buren, one of the other, lesser-known surnames of the House of Oranje-Nassau), participated in such sporting events as the New York marathon and the previous Frisian Eleven Cities skating marathon. His brother Prince Johan Friso is far less of a publicity hound. The second in line for the throne works at the Amsterdam branch of worldwide research company McKinsey and holds a degree in aeronautical economics and management. To prepare himself somewhat for a possible succession to the throne, Johan Friso has taken courses in Dutch law and parliamentary history.

Prince Constantijn is the youngest of the Queen's sons and goes by the nickname 'Tijn'. His ambitions seem to be in European politics and he has taken up an apprenticeship at the Brussels department of (Dutch) European Union commissioner of foreign relations, Van den Broek. Later this year, Constantijn will be officially hired by the EU. He studied law at Leyden University, also the alma mater of his mother.

Princess Margriet

The third of Juliana and Bernhard's four daughters, Princess Margriet was born in 1943 in Ottawa (Canada), where the royal family had found refuge during the war (see also the book When Canada Was Home, the Story of Dutch Princess Margriet, by Albert VanderMey, Vanderheide). She is the fourth in line for succession to the throne and as such, Margriet often represents Queen Beatrix at official or semi-official events. Some of these functions have taken her back to Canada and to events organized by the Dutch merchant marine of which she is a patron. Married in 1967 to lawyer Pieter Van Vollenhoven, a commoner and a fellow student during her years at Leyden University, Margriet has four sons, who follow her in the line to the throne.

Prince Maurits (his other names are Willem Pieter Hendrik) is the eldest of the four at age 29. He holds a degree in economics and works for Schiphol Airport. Like his father, Maurits is an accomplished pianist. The elder Van Vollenhoven frequently performs at fundraising events and televised concerts, always with fellow pianist Louis van Dijk and until a few years ago with the now deceased pianist Pim Jacobs. Prince Bernhard (Lucas Emmanuel) is 27 years old and holds a degree in economics. After an apprenticeship with Philips' Asian headquarters in Singapore, he now manages a courier service. Recently, Bernhard set up a virtual department store - Clockwork - on the Internet, offering an expanding range of exclusive items for sale.

Third of Margriet's sons is Prince Pieter-Christiaan (Michiel) who at age 24 is a law student at Utrecht University. Like his brother Bernhard, he plays the saxophone, an interest they have in common with King Bhumibol of Thailand and U.S. President Bill Clinton. At age 21, Prince Floris (Frederic Martijn) is the youngest of Margriet's sons. He attended universities for foreigners in a number of countries and is equally enrolled as a law student, in his case at Leyden. His musical talents have him taking up drums and percussion.

Princess Irene

In 1964, Queen Beatrix' one-year younger sister Princess Irene converted to Roman Catholicism, to marry Prince Carlos Hugo of Bourbon, one of the pretenders to the Spanish throne. With that move she abandoned any right of succession to the Dutch throne. For a number of years, Irene was very active in her husband's right-wing political cause, but the couple gradually grew apart and have divorced since. Their marriage was annulled by the Roman Catholic Church. The couple has four children. Irene now lives in the Netherlands and has written a number of esoterical books.

Carlos Javier Bernardo (27), Irene's eldest son, is a management trainee at a major U.S. bank. He holds degrees in political science and philosophy from the Weslean University of Middletown, Connecticut, and studied history at Cambridge University.

Margarita Maria Beatriz (24) is the first granddaughter of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. She is enrolled at Amsterdam University where she studies anthropology. Her twin brother Jaime Bernardo is a trainee at the International Red Cross organization and an economics student at an American university.

Maria Caroline Christine is 22 years old and a student of political science. She is majoring at Amsterdam University and currently taking a one-year course at a university in the U.S.

Princess Christina

The youngest of Beatrix' three sisters, Maria Christina (and earlier known as 'Marijke'), recently settled in the U.S.A with her three children. At age 21, she had moved to Montreal, Canada, where she studied classical music. After a few years, she changed domicile to New York, where she met and married Cuban exile Jorge Guillermo. Like her sister Irene, Christina renounced her and her children's rights to the Dutch throne. She also converted to Roman Catholicism. The last number of years, the family lived at an estate near The Hague. Princess Christina and Jorge are now divorced.

Bernardo is at age 19 Christina's eldest son. He already was enrolled at a Boston college before his mother's move to the U.S.A. Nicolas is 17 and was a high school student at The Hague, as was his 15-year old sister Juliana.

In official activities, Beatrix' three sons are to be addressed as 'royal highness' and they are Princes of the Netherlands. The eldest, Crown Prince Willem Alexander is the only one to carry the title of Prince of Oranje. Pieter and Margriet's four sons are 'highnesses' and Princes of Oranje-Nassau.