08 April 2013

Watch List: Princess Margriet

Number 13 on our list of princesses to watch in 2013 is Princess Margriet of The Netherlands. She made the list because this year marked her 70th birthday, and she certainly did not disappoint. Margriet probably received more attention than she has had in years--maybe since her wedding in 1967 and the births of her four sons over the next eight years.

Margriet with her husband, children and grandchildren

In addition to the adulation she received in The Netherlands for her birthday on January 19, she also got a lot of attention in the country of her birth: Canada. The princess was born there during World War II, where her mother, Princess Juliana, then heir to the throne, took refuge following the German occupation. The new baby was named Margriet, meaning Daisy, in honor of the flower that symbolized Dutch resistance. As a Canadian-born Princess, she has a specially place in Canadian hearts.

Margriet was in the news again in February when her husband, Prof. Pieter van Vollenhoven, had successful heart surgery. She continues to make the local and royal news cycles with her ongoing work in support of the monarch, the arts and culture, and health issues. In fact, the European Cultural Foundation even presents an annual award in her name. The recipients have included cultural theorist Stuart Hall, dancer-choreographers Jerome Bel and Pichet Klunchun, dramaturg and activist Borka Pavićević, theatre-maker Stefan Kaegi, visual artists Šejla Kamerić and Kutluğ Ataman, film-maker and cultural activist John Akomfrah, museum director and curator Charles Esche, conductor Yoel Gamzou, and Romanian visual artists Dan and Lia Perjovschi.

Margriet was born fourth in line to the throne, after her mother and two older sisters. She is currently ninth in line, and would be much lower if it weren't for the marriage choices of her sister Irene and nephew Friso. On April 30, she will retain her place, but her sons will lose theirs because the Dutch constitution only allows for those who are within three degrees of relation to the monarch to be in the line of succession. As the new king's aunt, she still counts.

For those of you who miss the quizzes at Certified Royal Expert, here is a trivia question for you:
Princess Margriet married a commoner. Her older sister, Princess Irene, married a prince. Why is Margriet still in the line of succession but Irene is not? Post your answers in the comments.


  1. Was it because P. Irene converted to Catholicism for her husband and Margriet didn't?

  2. Margriet asked the the Dutch gouvernement for permission to marry Pieter and they said it is ok, Irene did not.
    gr. Lizette

  3. Irene's marriage, which later ended in divorce, caused numerous issues. Not only was her future husband Catholic, but he was also the eldest son of the Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne. At that time, the Borbons had not been restored; General Franco was still the dictator. It appeared that Franco was aiding the royal lovers and that Irene was supporting him. This rankled with the Dutch who were still keenly aware of Franco's support of the Nazis who had occupied their country in WWII. As a compromise, Irene did not seek official goverment permission to marry and thereby lost her succession rights. The couple married in Rome without Franco or any of the bride's family in attendance. Irene also agreed to live out of country, but after her divorce in 1980, she and her four children moved to The Netherlands. Margriet's marriage to a solid, Dutch professor must have been a cleansing breath for the royal house after Irene's drama.