Princess Margriet of the Netherlands (Margriet Francisca; born 19 January 1943) is the third daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. As an aunt of the reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander, she is a member of the Dutch Royal House and currently eighth and last in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.
Princess Margriet has often represented the monarch at official or semi-official events. Some of these functions have taken her back to Canada, the country where she was born de facto, and to events organised by the Dutch merchant navy of which she is a patron.
The Princess was born in Ottawa Civic Hospital, 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 would derive her citizenship from her mother only, thus making her solely Dutch, which could be very important in the case that the child would have been a male, and as such, the heir of Princess Juliana.
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. Since Canada followed the rule of jus soli, it was necessary for Canada to disclaim the territory temporarily so that the child, potential heir of the Dutch throne would not, by virtue of birth on Canadian soil, become a Canadian citizen.
She was named after the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of the resistance to Nazi Germany.
Princess Margriet was christened at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, on 29 June 1943. Her godparents included Franklin D. Roosevelt (President of the United States), Mary of Teck (Dowager Queen Consort of the United Kingdom), Princess Märtha of Sweden (Crown Princess of Norway), Martine Roell (lady-in-waiting to Princess Juliana in Canada), and The Dutch Merchant Fleet.
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, in the St. James Church. It was decreed that any children from the marriage would be styled HH Prince/Princess of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, titles that would not be held by their descendants.
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 on the Palace grounds.
Princess Margriet is an active member of the Royal Family, representing the Monarch at a range of events.
She is particularly interested in health care and cultural causes. From 1987 to 2011 she was vice-president of the Netherlands Red Cross, who set up the Princess Margriet Fund in her honour. She is a member of the board of the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
From 1984 to 2007, Princess Margriet was President of the European Cultural Foundation, who set up the Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity in acknowledgement of her work.
She is a member of the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee.
Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven have four sons and eleven grandchildren:
Prince Maurits (born 17 April 1968) m. Marilène van den Broek (born 4 February 1970) on 29 May 1998. They have three children:
Anastasia (Anna) Margriet Joséphine van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (born 15 April 2001)
Lucas Maurits Pieter Henri van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (born 26 October 2002)
Felicia Juliana Benedicte Barbara van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (born 31 May 2005)
Prince Bernhard (born 25 December 1969) m. Annette Sekrève (born 18 April 1972) on 6 July 2000. They have three children:
Isabella Lily Juliana van Vollenhoven (born 14 May 2002)
Samuel Bernhard Louis van Vollenhoven (born 25 May 2004)
Benjamin Pieter Floris van Vollenhoven (born 12 March 2008)
Prince Pieter-Christiaan (born 22 March 1972) m. Anita van Eijk (born 27 October 1969) on 25 August 2005. They have two children:
Emma Francisca Catharina van Vollenhoven (born 28 November 2006)
Pieter Anton Maurits Erik van Vollenhoven (born 19 November 2008)
Prince Floris (born 10 April 1975) m. Aimée Söhngen (born 19 October 1977) on 20 October 2005. They have three children:
Magali Margriet Eleonoor van Vollenhoven (born 9 October 2007)
Eliane Sophia Carolina van Vollenhoven (born 5 July 2009)