Princess Christina of the Netherlands

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Princess Christina
Princess Christina in 1968
BornPrincess Maria Christina of the Netherlands
(1947-02-18)18 February 1947
Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
Died16 August 2019(2019-08-16) (aged 72)
Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
(m. 1975; div. 1996)
  • Bernardo Guillermo
  • Nicolás Guillermo
  • Juliana Guillermo
Maria Christina van Oranje-Nassau
FatherPrince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
MotherJuliana of the Netherlands
ReligionRoman Catholicism
prev. Dutch Reformed

Princess Christina of the Netherlands (Maria Christina; 18 February 1947 – 16 August 2019)[1][2] was the youngest of four daughters of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She taught singing in New York and was a long-term supporter of the Youth Music Foundation in the Netherlands. Born visually impaired, she worked to share her knowledge of dance and sound therapy with the blind.

She renounced her and her descendants' rights to the throne before marrying Cuban exile Jorge Guillermo in 1975, and converted to Catholicism in 1992. The couple had three children and built up an extensive art collection, before they divorced in 1996. Christina died of bone cancer in 2019.

Early life[edit]

Princess Christina, who was known as Princess Marijke in her youth, was born on 18 February 1947, at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, the Netherlands. Her parents were Crown Princess Juliana, the only child of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.[3] At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the line to the throne after her mother and three older sisters: Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet.[3]

She was baptised on 9 October 1947 and her godparents included Queen Wilhelmina (her maternal grandmother), her eldest sister Princess Beatrix, Sir Winston Churchill (for whom her father stood proxy), her paternal grandmother Princess Armgard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Prince Felix of Luxembourg, and his niece Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.[4][5]

On 4 September 1948, after a reign of nearly 58 years, Christina's grandmother Queen Wilhelmina (68) abdicated the throne and her mother was inaugurated as Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 6 September 1948.[6]

Childhood and education[edit]

While her mother was pregnant with Christina, she contracted either measles or rubella and as a result, Christina was born nearly blind. With medical treatment and custom eyeglasses, her vision improved to a point that she could attend school and live a relatively normal life.[7]

In 1963, she stopped using her first name Maria, from then on referring to herself merely as Christina. She graduated from secondary school (Amersfoort Lyceum) in 1965 and went on to [8] attend the University of Groningen where she studied teaching theory. At age 21 she moved to Canada to study classical music in at the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy in Montreal where she studied vocal teaching.[9]


Princess Christina & Jorge Pérez y Guillermo in 1975
Princess Christina and Jorge Guillermo with Bernardo in 1978

While living in New York as Christina van Oranje, the Princess started a relationship with Cuban exile Jorge Guillermo.[3]

Although societal attitudes were changing, because Guillermo was a Roman Catholic, it was still possible that a marriage could cause a public scandal in the Netherlands such as the one that occurred in 1964 when Christina's sister Princess Irene married the Catholic Prince Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma. Accordingly, Princess Christina, at that time ninth in line for the Dutch throne, renounced her and her descendants' rights to the throne before officially announcing her engagement on St. Valentine's Day, 1975. She converted to Catholicism in 1992.[10]

The couple were married on 28 June 1975, civilly in Baarn and then religiously in an ecumenical ceremony in the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht.[8] After their wedding, they lived in New York but later moved to the Netherlands, where they built Villa Eikenhorst [nl] in Wassenaar, near The Hague.[10] The couple built up an extensive art collection.[11] They had three children:

  • Bernardo Federico Thomas Guillermo (born 17 June 1977, Utrecht), married 2 March 2009, New York City (USA), Eva Marie Prinz Valdes (born 2 August 1979) and has two children:[citation needed]
    • Isabel Christina Guillermo (born in 2009)
    • Julián Jorge Guillermo (born in 2011)
  • Nicolás Daniel Mauricio Guillermo (born 6 July 1979, Utrecht), has two children:[citation needed]
    • Joaquín Guillermo (born in 2020)
    • Carmen Guillermo (born in 2023)
  • Juliana Edenia Antonia Guillermo (born 8 October 1981, Utrecht), has three children with Tao Bodhi:[citation needed]
    • Kai Bodhi Guillermo (born in 2014)
    • Numa Bodhi Guillermo (born in 2016)
    • Aida Bodhi Guillermo (born in 2019)

By her request, the couple divorced on 25 April 1996.[8]


P.P. Rubens's drawing sold in 2019 by Princess Christina

She began teaching singing in New York after completing her vocal teaching studies at the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy in Montreal. She recorded and released several CDs (classical, Broadway) in 2000 and 2002, and was a long-term supporter of the Youth Music Foundation in the Netherlands.[8] In 1989, she allowed her name to be used for the Prinses Christina Concours an annual competition held in the Netherlands to encourage the musical talents of children in the Netherlands.[8]

She performed at the marriage of her nephew Prince Bernhard Jr. and this was one of her few public performances.[8] She also sang at the funerals of both of her parents Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard in the New Church (Delft).[8]

She completed a dance therapist training and worked, in the later part of her career, with sound and dance therapy. She worked to share her knowledge in the fields of dance/sound therapy and physical contact, with the blind. She worked for the Visio foundation in the towns of Huizen and Breda to achieve this.[8]

Early 2019, Christina made headlines when she decided to sell several works of art. These works came to her through inheritance from the Dutch royal family: art lover William II of the Netherlands. Dutch institutions including the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen did not have enough funds to purchase the major piece of the auction, an anatomical drawing by Peter Paul Rubens. It was sold by Sotheby's for $8.2 million.[12]


In June 2018, it was announced that Princess Christina had been diagnosed with bone cancer.[13] She died on 16 August 2019, aged 72.[14] Her body was taken to Fagel's Garden Pavilion nearby Noordeinde Palace for a private service held on 22 August, and her remains were cremated.[15]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Princess Christina of The Netherlands
Reference styleHer Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]



  1. ^ Hunter, Brian (1 June 1992). The Statesman's Year-Book 1992–93. Macmillan. p. 992. ISBN 978-0-333-55836-2. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  2. ^ Zaken, Ministerie van Algemene. "Prinses Christina". Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Dutch Princess Christina, sister of former queen, dies at 72". AP. Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Zegening door handoplegging bij de doop van prinses Marijke in de Domkerk in Utrecht. 9 oktober 1947". Geheugen van Nederland (photo). Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Indrukwekkende gebeurtenis in de Domstad: Plechtige doop van Prinses Marijke". Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch). 9 October 1947. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  6. ^ Vat, Dan van der (22 March 2004). "Obituary: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  7. ^ Carroll, Lorna (10 June 1963). "Pediatric Surgery Has Given A New Life To Many Children". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 32.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Princess Christina". Ministry of General Affairs. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  9. ^ "In Memoriam Princess Christina". The Royal House of the Netherlands. The Royal Household of the Netherlands. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b Lammers, Fred (19 September 1994). "Huwelijk Christina niet zo romantisch". Trouw (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. ^ "A possessing Princess". Independent. 10 November 1996. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Sir Peter Paul Rubens, NUDE STUDY OF A YOUNG MAN WITH RAISED ARMS". Sotheby's. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Princess Christina, the aunt of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, has bone cancer". Royal Central. 21 June 2018. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Christina, a Dutch Princess Who Married a Commoner, Dies at 72". The New York Times. 16 August 2019. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Dutch Princess Christina, sister of former queen, dies at 72". Associated Press News. 16 August 2019. Archived from the original on 18 August 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.

External links[edit]