The Bridal Party of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard

2017 it will be 80 years ago that Princess Juliana of the Netherlands married Prince Bernhard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld. The wedding was being held on 7 January 1937 in the Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk (Great, or St. James Church) in The Hague, The Netherlands. When some years ago I tried to find out who they were, it turned out that wasn’t that easy. The four bridal children were easy, the 12 men and 12 women who formed the biggest part of the bridal party weren’t. Lots of names in newspapers and books but often without first name, or even initials. Any additions to the list below are welcome, as I still haven’t been able to find out all first names, so it is hard to tell who they are and when they were born and died. For a picture of the whole group (and don’t ask who is who) see ANP

The twelve men were:

  • Vincenz Prince zu Windisch-Grätz (1913-2005)¹
  • Count Fabian zu Dohna-Schlodien (1908-1992)
  • Count Claus Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (1909-1983)
  • Count Johannes “Hans” Welczeck (1911-1969)
  • Aschwin Baron von Cramm (1906-1962)
  • Berno  Baron von Cramm (1911-1942)
  • Karl “Talle” Baron von Vietinghoff gen. Scheel (1914-1984)
  • Gijsbert “Gijs” baron van Hardenbroek van Lockhorst (1902-1960)
  • Jonkheer Gerard Beelaerts van Blokland (1908-1997)
  • Jonkheer Willem Röell (1905-1942)
  • Edouard Durieu du Souzy, Commander of the 18th “Chasseurs à Cheval” (1894-1988)²
  • Fenton Moran (1907-1958)

The twelve women were:

  • Princess Sieglinde zur Lippe (1915-2008)
  • Princess Elisabeth zur Lippe (1916-2013)
  • Duchess Woizlawa-Feodora von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1918- )
  • Duchess Thyra von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1919-1981)
  • Princess Kira of Russia (1909-1967)
  • Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg (1907-1979) – she seems to have been replaced by Jonkvrouwe Catharina Elisabeth Boudewina “Binebeth” Roëll (1911-1995)³
  • Albertine baroness van Heeckeren van Kell (1899-1994) – she replaced Princess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1911-1988), who wasn’t able to come
  • Marianne Jacqueline baroness van Heemstra (1903-1991)
  • Jonkvrouw Ariane Margaretha de Brauw (1911-1981)
  • Martine del Court van Krimpen (1916-2010)
  • Marguerite Michelin Moreau (1908-1983)
  • Maria “Mies” Rooseboom (1909-1978)°

The flower children:

  • Countess Svea von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1925-2004)
  • Duchess Eilika von Oldenburg (1928-2016)
  • Prinz Armin zur Lippe (1924-2015)
  • Count Caspar von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1926-2009)

The witnesses:

  • Prince Aschwin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld (1914-1988), brother of the groom
  • Duke Adolf von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1873-1969), uncle of the bride
  • Prince Julius Ernst zur Lippe (1873-1952), uncle of the groom
  • Rabe Caspar von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1899-1980), cousin of the groom
  • Jonkvrouwe Louise Pauline van de Poll (1857-1943), honorary lady-in-waiting and 1909-1920 educator of Princess Juliana
  • Jonkheer Frans Beelaerts van Blokland (1872-1956), chamberlain in extraordinary service
  • Professor Johan Huizinga (1872-1945), Julianas Professor at the University of Leiden, leading historian. He replaced the Prince zu Wied, likely Friedrich Fürst zu Wied (1872-1945), who cancelled his visit days before the wedding
  • Alexis (von) Pantchulidzew (1888-1968), family friend of the Lippe-Biesterfelds

Of all these people only one is left, as far as I know, as even most of the younger ones have died in the past few years. Prince Armin zur Lippe died in August 2015. Even when being old he remembered vividly having been one of the bridal children and had to wear shoes of an aunt of his, while the shoes he was supposed to wear didn’t fit. Duchess Eilika von Oldenburg, Juliana’s goddaughter, who later married Fürst Emich zu Leiningen, died on 26 January 2016 in Amorbach, Germany. She didn’t recover anymore after a nasty fall just before Christmas. She was one week short of her 88th birthday. That means of the whole bridal party just one person is left. Princess Woizlawa-Feodora Reuss née Duchess von Mecklenburg Schwerin, who in December turned 97.

¹ A well informed contact told me this should be Prince Vincenz zu Windisch-Graetz (1913-2005), who was a good friend of Prince Bernhard’s. This is confirmed by Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis”.

² The name can be found in various spellings. I have seen E. de Sousie, E. de Souzie and Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis” says E. du Souzy. In an article about the Silver Wedding of the couple in 1962 he is mentioned as General E. du Souzy. It is therefore quite likely he is Edouard Durieu du Souzy (1894-1988), who in an online genealogy is listed as a Général de Brigade and in 1949 became Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur.

³ Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis” identifies eleven of the twelve maids of honour. She doesn’t list Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg and Albertine baroness van Heeckeren van Kell. Instead she has listed Jonkvrouwe Binebeth Roëll, who was Jonkvrouwe Catharina Elisabeth Boudewina Roëll (1911-1995). Also her Wikipedia entry lists her as maid of honour of Juliana at her wedding. This interesting article lists all bridesmaids as above, so “Binebeth” must have replaced Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg.

° She was a good friend of Princess Juliana. See

Article edited extensively 30 January 2016

What happened to Count Adolf?

Graaf Adolf is gebleven (Count Adolf stayed behind)
in Friesland in de slag, (in battle in Frisia)
zijn ziel in ‘t eeuwig leven (His soul in the eternal life)
verwacht de jongste dag. (awaits the final judgement)

These are the last lines of the fourth verse of the Dutch national anthem (there are fifteen verses, just for your information). Who is this Count Adolf?

He was born in Dillenburg on 11 July 1540 as fourth of the five sons of Count Wilhelm I “The Rich”of Nassau-Dillenburg and his second wife Countess Juliana zu Stolberg. And he was killed in action in 1568. 1568 is seen as the starting year of the Eighty Years’ War, also called the Dutch War of Independence – a revolt of the seventeen Dutch provinces against the Spanish. Leader of the revolt was Willem I “The Silent”, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, the eldest brother of Adolf. Willem and his brothers Ludwig and Adolf gathered an army and in 1568 invaded the Netherlands from three sides. Ludwig led the troops that were to enter the country through Friesland, in the northeast of the country. Adolf came along with him. In the meantime the Spanish troops under the command of Jean de Ligne, Duke of Arenberg gathered in the area. On 23 May 1568 the Spanish and Dutch met at Heiligerlee, a village not very far from the German border. Ludwig survived, Adolf however, only 27 years old, was killed. Ludwig himself was killed in action, as well as did the youngest brother Heinrich, in the battle of the Mookerheide on 14 April 1574. Their bodies were never recovered. Willem himself was murdered in Delft on 10 July 1584. Johann VI (1536-1606) was the only one of the five brothers who managed not to be killed during the Eighty Years’ War

There is a museum in Heiligerlee about the battle, and a monument was erected there for Adolf in 1868 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary. For centuries historians and researchers have wondered, what did actually happen to Adolf? There were some interesting articles about it in Dutch and German newspapers last week which made me curious. The Groninger historian Lammert Doedens for many years searched for the final resting place of Adolf, and thinks he has finally solved the mystery after almost 450 years.

Although some stories say that he was killed on the battlefield by the Duke of Arenberg personally, shortly before he died himself, Doedens thinks that is incorrect. However Adolf must have found himself surrounded by Spanish troops and was killed. When Ludwig inspected the battlefield the day afterwards – the Dutch had won – he found the body of his brother. Both Adolf and the Duke of Arenberg were taken to the monastery church of Heiligerlee, where they were likely enbalmed. The body of Adolf was taken to the Castle in nearby Wedde and buried there. Already a few days later the body was removed in the middle of the night on request of Ludwig. The situation in the area was still too insecure and he didn’t want his brother’s remains to fall into the hands of the Spanish. But where was Adolf taken to? At the time only a few people must have known. And when the war was finally over, nobody who had known was alive. All that seems to be pretty certain, is that he was buried in a nearby town in Germany. Doedens came to the conclusion that they might well have tried to take Adolfs remains back home to Dillenburg, but they never arrived there, that’s for sure. But along which route would they have travelled into the direction of Dillenburg? Rumours go that Adolf was buried at the vault of the Counts of Ostfriesland (East Friesland) in Emden, where supposedly also his armour (or that of Ludwig) is still being kept at the Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum. However the archives of the church in Emden don’t mention Adolf and in 1943 the church and the vault were destroyed in an air raid. The remaining parts of the skeletons were buried in the Mausoleum of the Counts of Ostfriesland in Aurich. Doedens did research in the Johannes Lasco Library in Emden but came up with nothing. Emden also was not a very logical burial place as that was up north and probably too close to the enemy. A route to the south was impossible, as this area remained Catholic and was thus dangerous for the Protestant Dutch. Most plausible would have been if they had taken Adolf to the east via Oldenburg, to try to get him to Dillenburg through protestant soil.

When Doedens held a lecture about Adolf an archaeologist afterwards came up with an interesting theory. He told him about the renovation of the vault in the Lamberti Church in Oldenburg in 1937. The Rev. Ralph Hennings of this church informed him that during renovation several coffins had been found. Among them the coffins of Count Anton von Oldenburg and his wife. But also some remains of about five other people. A complete skeleton was found at the very bottom of the vault, but in 1937 nobody had any idea who he was and the remains were placed back in the vault. Ralph Hennings says he thinks it could also be Count Christoph von Oldenburg. In the Royal House Archives in The Hague Doedens found out that Count Anton von Oldenburg had actually known the family. In 1567 Anton had been one of the godfathers of Willem of Orange’s son Maurits, and together with two sons had attended the christening in person. Ludwigs troops had been allowed to pass through Oldenburg and Oldenburg troops even fought side by side with the Dutch.

The coming months will be very exciting. The University of Göttingen has paid for DNA-research, and permission has been given to open the vault in Oldenburg. There is also permission to exhume the remains of Adolfs sister Catharina (1543-1624), who was married to Count Günther XLI zu Schwarzburg-Arnstadt. She was buried in the Liebfrauenkirche in Arnstadt. The DNA will then be compared. Doedens himself is quite positive about the results and thinks there is a 75 % chance that the remains in Oldenburg are Adolf’s. That would make an end to the almost 450 years of uncertainty about the burial place of Count Adolf.

A tiny, tiny exhibition called “Speurtocht naar graaf Adolf van Nassau” (Quest for Count Adolf von Nassau) opened on 20 January 2016 at the University Museum in Groningen, The Netherlands. To my opinion – I went to see it today as I live nearby (and accidentally also saw Mr Doedens, although I didn’t talk to him) – much too small for a special trip to Groningen. But when you’re in town anyway, just go and have a look as it is very small but interesting. The entrance is free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm to 5pm.

Emperor Wilhelm II at Het Loo


An exhibition about Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany in the Netherlands? Who on earth wants to see that, my German colleague wondered. It surely won’t be visited as much as previous exhibitions, but the exhibition “Der Kaiser! Glory & decline of Emperor Wilhelm II” at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn is still pretty nice and interesting. The museum collaborated with Museum Huis Doorn. For who wants to see it, it will be on display until 28 February 2016. Information at the exhibition is given in Dutch and in German, but there are information sheets in English available in the small room before you enter the exhibition.

Wilhelm II was born in 1859 as the son of Emperor Friedrich III and Princess Victoria of Great Britain, and in 1888 became Emperor after the death of his father, who only ruled for a few months. The exhibition tells the story of the life of the last German Emperor, who spent the period of November 1918 to his death in 1941 in the Netherlands, being exiled from his own country after the end of the German Empire. He first spent time as a guest at Amerongen Castle, but in 1919 bought Huis Doorn. After his death the Emperor was buried in a mausoleum at Huis Doorn, and still rests there.

I managed to arrive there as first guest on Saturday 12 December just after the palace had opened the door for the day. The best way to take pictures without having any other people standing in the way. I was already halfway the first part when more people entered. If I did like the exhibition I was asked several times after my visit. Yes and no. I am not much into military things, and there was a lot of it, as of course Wilhelm II was quite a military man. I especially loved the personal paintings, photos, clothing and other items and wouldn’t have mind a ride in that great car.

While the first part of the exhibition showed quite a bit of private things, the upper floor was half about the First World War, while the other half was about his life after the war. I had a quick glance at uniforms and other things connected to the war, and spent some more time in the final part. Most interesting to me were some paintings and photos, including one of the Emperor with then Princess Juliana. She and her husband Prince Bernhard were also guests at the wedding banquet for his grandson Prince Louis Ferdinand, the later head of the family, and his wife Grand Duchess Kira of Russia in 1938.

By far the best part of the exhibition I thought however was the dinner table as set for the wedding banquet of Princess Viktoria Luise, the Emperor’s only daughter, and her husband Prince Ernst August of Hannover, Duke of Braunschweig on 22 May 1913 in the White Room of the City Palace in Berlin. All important family members, also from abroad, were present, including King George V of Great Britain and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. It was on of the last huge royal gatherings before World War I changed everything and family members became each others enemies.  The table was set with the wedding silverware from 1881 in a neo-baroque style and a glass service, although another service than the one from 1881, which is no longer complete.

In case you wonder, even when being exiled, lots of possessions of the Emperor from his many palaces and castles in Germany were transported in 59 train carriages to the Netherlands.

Het Loo: The Wedding of Princess Margriet 1967

On 10 January 1967, on a cold winter’s day, the third daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard, married at the City Hall and later that day in the Great or Saint Jacob’s Church in The Hague. Princess Margriet, born 1943, had chosen to marry a Dutch commoner, Pieter van Vollenhoven.

The bride wore a dress of cloque silk with daisies woven into the fabric. More daisies were embroidered on the bodice and the five metres long train. The name of the bride, Margriet, is the Dutch word for “daisy”. On her head she wore a tiara with rosette-shaped large button pearls surrounded by nine diamonds. The wedding bouquet was made of daisies – imported from the South of France – and roses. The groom wore his uniform of the Dutch Royal Airforce.

After the church wedding the couple returned to Huis ten Bosch for lunch. A large table for 80 guests was laid in the Orange Hall. Of course the couple and their family were seated at the head of the table. In the ballroom nextdoor another 48 guests had lunch. First the guests had ‘Médaillons de saumon Royal’ (served with Meursault Blagny 1962), followed by ‘Consommé cordial’, ‘Selle de chevreuil Valencia’ (served with Château Gruaud Larose 1959), and at the end of course the wedding cake appeared (and Champagne Veuve Cliquot-Ponsardin brut 1961).

The tables were decorated with table silver, vases, candelabras, the French Sèvres china service and Italian glass work. The flower arrangements were made of white lilac, freesias and of course daisies. Palace Het Loo from 12 December 2015 to 3 January 2015 shows the table setting,  as well as the wedding dress and uniform of the groom. I thank them for all the information given at the museum, which I used to write this blogpost.

Winterpalace Het Loo

I admit I am to blame myself! I missed part of the Christmas exhibition at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, on Saturday. A tiny part, but anyway … It had been a very busy week, so I did receive the press announcement about it and had just a very quick look at it, saw something about the wedding dress of Princess Margriet and that was it. I did receive some paperstuff when I was at the ticket office of the Palace on Saturday morning tough, after having arrived as about the first visitor of the day. But you know, like all regular visitors, who come at least once a year, or sometimes even more often, you think it is mainly the same as last time, so you don’t really have a closer look. If there is something special going on in the usually very quiet east wing of the Palace, can’t it just be indicated on a board or something just outside the wing, as also happens when there is an exhibition in the west wing? Then I would certainly have gone inside. A pity really, as I now missed the Christmas table with tiny exhibition about Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, who lived in the wing until 1976, and celebrated their last Christmas there 40 years ago.

But as usual Winterpalace Het Loo was wonderful. In the hall of the ticket office was a beautiful Christmas tree, the fences were decorated with gorgeous wreaths. After entering the palace grounds just before 10am (I said I was early) I passed the ice rink near the stables. When I passed it in the late afternoon it was filled with skaters. More about the Emperor Wilhelm II exhibition I first visited later on, but first the palace itself, where I still can spend the whole day, even if I have been there dozens of times now. There is always something new: an exhibition, like last year a new walking tour through the park. And yearly around Christmas the place turns into a Winterpalace. This year the palace from 12 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 looks atmospherical with perfect table settings, decorated Christmas trees and lots of other green decorations.

If I understood correctly this is the table of King Willem II and his wife Queen Anna Paulowna.


Miniature version of the table for the gala dinner for the Corps Diplomatique in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on 24 June 2015. More than 230 guests attended the dinner that was attended by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Princess Beatrix, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. This table setting is only for twelve people.

On 24 March 2014 world leaders had dinner in the Orange Hall at Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, on the occasion of the Nuclear Security Summit. Guests included Barack Obama, President of the USA. Six round tables were set in the hall, one of them shown at Het Loo.

18th-century style sugar palace. The dinner table hosted by the city of Amsterdam for Stadtholder Willem V and his wife Wilhelmina in 1768 looked like this. The miniature building is the Corps-de-Logis of Palace Het Loo.

Dinner table of Queen Wilhelmina with a never before exhibited Jugendstil service. And on the right a dinner gown from Queen Wilhelmina from around 1900.

Burial of the Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg

Almost 600 people, among them many members of the Gotha, gathered in Parish Church St Verena in Bad Wurzach, Germany, on 12 December 2015 for the funeral of Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, who had died at Zeil Castle on 2 December 2015, aged 87. During the orations during the funeral service the remains of the Fürst were carried to a gun carriage pulled by four black horses. He was taken back to Zeil Castle, the residence of his family since 400 years, and was buried at the cemetery of the Parish Church St. Maria there. About 1000 people had gathered there and said goodbye at the open grave.

Photos & Copyright: Gabi P.

Among the guests were Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, Fürst Hans Adam II and Fürstin Marie von und zu Liechtenstein, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie von und zu Liechtenstein, Archduke Karl of Austria, Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Franz Duke of Bavaria, Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria with their daughters Elizabeth and Anna with husbands, Duke Carl and Duchess Diane von Württemberg with their four sons and daughter, the Fürst von Hohenzollern, Hereditary Prince Bernhard von Baden and his wife Stephanie, the Fürst von Fürstenberg, the Fürst and Fürstin von Leiningen, the Duke of Croÿ, Fürst Karl von Schwarzenberg, Fürst Albert von Thurn und Taxis, other members of the royal family of Bavaria, and many others.

Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg was born on 5 June 1928 in Würzburg as son of Erich August Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg (1899-1953) and Princess Monika zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1905-1992). In 1957 he married Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria (* 1931) and had six children: Walburga (* 1958), Maria Gabriele (* 1959), Monika (* 1961), Erich (* 1962), Adelheid (* 1964) and Elisabeth (* 1966).

Christmas Wonderland at Bückeburg

All pictures copyrighted by Netty Leistra

Having grown up in The Netherlands, where – at least when I was young – it was rather a tradition to give presents at St Nicholas (5 December), Christmas mainly meant lots of decoration and good food. I think I was a teenager when we first visited a Christmas market. There were bustours from our country, so we travelled all the way to Münster, Germany. Over the years I have visited several other Christmas markets in Germany, mainly in the north of the country, and mainly in towns and cities. One thing for sure, Germans know how to prepare for Christmas. Lights and decoration everywhere and special Christmas markets in the middle of towns. A few years ago I even saw Santa Claus flying over the square in front of the city hall of Hamburg. I might have travelled to Leer or Oldenburg again this year, if I hadn’t received an invitation to visit a totally different Christmas market. If I’d like to come to Bückeburg, the residence of Alexander Fürst zu Schaumburg-Lippe. It turned out that “Weihnachtszauber” (Christmas magic) at Bückeburg Castle, themed “Winterwald” (winter forest) this year, is something totally different and much more exciting from what I had ever experienced before.

This 14th Christmas market at Bückeburg Castle takes place from 26 November to 6 December 2015, so if you have nothing else to do in one of the coming days, go for it! Open daily from 10am-19pm, on Friday and Saturday even until 21pm. 15 (!) Kilometers of lights shows the market from its very best side as soon as it gets dark. But please take your time, as it takes probably hours to see everything. In the morning it is not that crowded, but in the afternoon tens of busses full of people arrive and especially inside the castle it is hard to move forward quickly later on the day.

Hundreds of sellers present their products in the park, the square in front of the castle, or in the castle itself. You can get about everything you want. From drinks to food, Christmas balls and decoration, jewelry, clothes for everybody, dirndls, toys, and all kind of other presents. There are even backing demonstrations and how to make your own Christmas wreaths demonstrations. Study the programm before you start, so you miss as little as possible.

Of course also the castle itself presents its products and the Fürstliche Forstamt (forestry) is present too. There are fashion shows, small concerts and revues and Christmas singers. Light shows, fireworks and a concert from the balcony of the castle take place as soon as it is dark. While walking over the market you might well meet Santa Claus, his Christmas Angels and if you’re lucky even the Fürst himself.

Be sure you don’t miss the wonderful performances of the Fürstliche Hofreitschule either. Be in time, as there are only three a day, and usually there are queues already long before they start. Wolfgang and Christin Krischke and their team bring a wonderful show. In December they have several Weihnachtsgalas (Christmas Galas) that surely will be even more spectacular than their performances during the Christmas market.

Of course inside the castle it is almost impossible to get a full view on how the rooms and halls usually look. They have totally been changed into a market. But just look up and you see the paintings, gorgeous ceilings and possibly even a piece of furniture. It was amazing to see how well Christmas and old castle rooms go together. I even saw some antlers that were used as hat-rack for bags!


Unfortunately when I was there, it rained. I’d rather would have liked snow, but of course you can’t order the weather. Not a big problem, as big parts of the market are inside the castle or in big tents. But be sure you don’t wear slippery shoes and bring an umbrella.