lunes, 28 de mayo de 2007

The Dutch Royal Family: Princess Christina

Princess Christina of the Netherlands (born February 18, 1947), Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, is the youngest of four daughters born to Queen regnant Juliana of the Netherlands and her Prince consort Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.

She was born Maria Christina (Marijke) at Soestdijk Palace, The Netherlands. Among her godparents was Winston Churchill. Her mother had contracted German measles during her pregnancy and as a result, the Princess was born nearly blind. Over time, advances in medicine allowed for treatments that, with the aid of special glasses, brought about an improvement in her vision so that she could attend school and live a relatively normal life. Despite this initial handicap, she was a brilliant and happy child, with a very considerable talent for music. She also had a capacity for languages and as a young girl delighted the visiting President of the French Republic René Coty, by conversing fluently with him in the French language.

Princess Christina of the Netherlands could claim the British nationality because of her descendance from Sophia, Electress of Hannover. Her British nationality is based on 'The Act for the Naturalization of the Most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Issue of her Body' from 1705. This Act was repealed in 1948 and is no longer in force, but that was after her birth.

Princess Christina of the Netherlands is a direct descendant of Sophia Electress of Hannover via her grandson King George II of Great Britain's daughter Anne Princess of Orange, Fürstin of Nassau née Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Hannover, Duchess of Braunschweig and Lüneburg, The Princess Royal (1709-1759).

In 1963, Princess Marijke changed to using her second name, Christina. Pursuing her gift for music, at age 21 she moved to Canada to study classical music in Montreal. After a few years, she accepted a teaching position at a Montessori school in New York City. There, living an ordinary life under the name Christina Van Oranje, the Dutch Princess met and fell in love with a Havana-born Cuban exile named Jorge Guillermo, himself a teacher for the Addie May Collins Shelter of Harlem.

Although societal attitudes were changing, because Mr. Guillermo was a Roman Catholic, it was still possible that any marriage could cause another public scandal in the Netherlands such as the one that occurred in 1964 when her sister, Princess Irene married the Catholic Carlos Hugo of Bourbon, Duke of Parma. Accordingly, Princess Christina, at that time ninth in line for the Dutch throne, renounced her and her children's rights to the throne before converting to Catholicism and officially announcing her engagement on St. Valentine's Day, 1975.

Married on June 28, 1975, in Utrecht Cathedral in The Netherlands, the newlyweds rode through the streets of the city to the cheers of thousands of Dutch citizens. Following their marriage, she and her husband chose to live in New York but later moved to her native land where they built a home on an estate in Wassenaar, near the Hague.

Their children:

* Bernardo Federico Tomás Guillermo, (b. June 17, 1977)
* Nicolás Daniel Mauricio Guillermo, (b. July 6, 1979)
* Juliana Edenia Antonia Guillermo, (b. October 8, 1981)

Divorced in 1996, Princess Christina returned with her children to live in the United States. After her mother's death she has lived partly in London, partly in Monte Argentario, Italy.

She recorded several CDs and has a Music Foundation in the Netherlands. She sang at her mother's funeral and partipicated in a tribute concert that the CIMA Festival did in Italy for Queen Juliana, under the direction of Jorge Chaminé.