Princess Christina of the Netherlands

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Princess Christina
Princess Christina in 2015
Born(1947-02-18)18 February 1947
Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
Died16 August 2019(2019-08-16) (aged 72)
Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Jorge Pérez y Guillermo [nl]
(m. 1975; div. 1996)
  • Bernardo Guillermo
  • Nicolás Guillermo
  • Juliana Guillermo
Full name
Maria Christina
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.

Early life[edit]

Princess Christina, known then as Princess Marijke, was born on 18 February 1947, at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn Netherlands. Her mother was the then Princess Juliana, only child and heir presumptive of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.[3] Her father was Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, a son of Prince Bernhard of Lippe and his wife, Baroness Armgard von Cramm.[3] At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the line of succession to her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina. For Christina had three older sisters: Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet.[3]

At her baptism on 9 October 1947, 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 Baroness Armgard, Prince Felix of Luxembourg and his niece Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.[4][5]

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

Childhood and education[edit]

During pregnancy, her mother had contracted rubella and as a result, Christina was born nearly blind. Over time, advances in medicine allowed for eye 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.[7] As Christina's eye treatments went on, Prince Bernhard introduced Princess Juliana to the faith healer Greet Hofmans, who came to have a great influence on Juliana, giving rise to the Dutch Royal Court crisis of 1948–1956.[3]

In 1963, Princess Maria changed her name to her second name, Christina. She cleared her school-leaving examinations at Amersfoort Lyceum in 1965.[8] For higher studies she went to the University of Groningen.[8] Pursuing her interest in music, at age 21 she moved to Canada to study classical music in Montreal. At the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy in Montreal, she studied vocal teaching from 1968.[8]


Princess Christina & Jorge Pérez y Guillermo in 1975

While living in New York, under the name Christina van Oranje, the Princess met and started a relationship with a Cuban exile named Jorge Pérez y Guillermo [nl].[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.[9]

Princess Christina and Jorge Guillermo with Bernardo in 1978

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.[9] The couple built up an extensive art collection.[10] They had three children: Bernardo (born 1977), Nicolás (born 1979), and Juliana (born 1981).[3]

The couple divorced, by her request, on 25 April 1996.[8]


She began teaching singing in New York after she completed 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 for 30 years had a Youth Music Foundation in the Netherlands.[8] In 1989, she allowed her name to be used for the Prinses Christina Concours and joined the advisory committee thereof. The annual competition had as objective to introduce and encourage the musical talents of children in the Netherlands.[8]

Her performance at the marriage of nephew Prince Bernhard Jr. was one of the few public performances by Christina.[8] From the time of her mother's death (March 2004), she had lived in London and in Monte Argentario, Italy. She sang at both funerals 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]

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

Early 2019, Christina made news when she decided to sell several works of art. These works were in her possession through inheritance from the Dutch royal family: art lover William II of the Netherlands. Institutes from the Netherlands, among others the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, did not have enough funds to purchase the major item at the auction, a drawing by Peter Paul Rubens. His anatomic study was sold at Sotheby's for $8.2 million.[11]


In June 2018, it was announced that Princess Christina had been diagnosed with bone cancer.[12] She died on 16 August 2019, aged 72.[13] 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.[14]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Princess Christina of The Netherlands
Coat of Arms of the children of Juliana of the Netherlands.svg
Reference styleHer Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness


  • 1947 – 1963: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Christina of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld
  • 1963 – 1975: Her Royal Highness Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld
  • 1975 – 1996: Her Royal Highness Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Mrs. Guillermo
  • 1996 – 2019: Her Royal Highness Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld


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 d e f "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 i j "Princess Christina". Ministry of General Affairs. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "A possessing Princess". Independent. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Princess Christina, the aunt of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, has bone cancer". Royal Central. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Dutch Princess Christina leaves the Nieuwe Kerk after the investiture ceremony of King Willem-Alexander in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 30 April 2013". Corbis (photo). Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Luisterend naar de troonrede in de Haagse Ridderzaal vlnr: prinses Christina, mr.Pieter van Vollenhoven, prinses Margriet en prins Claus". ANP Historisch Archief Community. Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  17. ^ "1962, 25th Wedding Anniversary of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, The group of dignitaries are pictured at the State Dinner". Getty Images. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  18. ^ [1] Geheugen van Nederland (photo 1967, Dam Palace)
  19. ^ [2] ANP Fotoarchief (april 1967, Dam Palace)

External links[edit]