Last Wednesday evening (1 December) Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands died in hospital at Utrecht, at the age of 93. He had been the husband, or “prince-consort,” of Queen Juliana (mother of the present Queen Beatrix), who herself died earlier this year, on March 20. The highlight of the service to his adopted country that this German-born prince performed was no doubt his role during Holland’s occupation in World War II, when he commanded the Dutch resistance from his post in London. The day after his death, as you would expect the Dutch press was filled with remembrance and tribute articles, even the financial press (free registration required). These included, from the Algemeen Dagblad, A Fighter to the End (free registration required), which is perhaps a strange title since, shortly after being admitted to the hospital for the last time, the Prince instructed his doctors not to intervene anymore. Plus, he had reportedly communicated to friends the loss of his will to live after the death of his wife in the spring. Also from the AD: the tribute They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore, by Marc Kruyswijk. Make them how? Namely “difficult, but full of character, headstrong, but colorful. Convinced that he is right – whether he was right or not.” Well, we’ll see how “right” Prince Bernhard was.
It only took one day later for the dirty laundry to start being laid out in public. And for all his wartime record, the Prince had quite a load of dirty laundry indeed that he had accumulated through his life. (more…)