Princess Christina of the Netherlands

Princess Christina

Princess Christina in 2015
Born (1947-02-18) 18 February 1947
Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, Netherlands
Spouse Jorge Pérez y Guillermo
(m. 1975; div. 1996)
Issue Bernardo Guillermo
Nicolás Guillermo
Juliana Guillermo
Full name
Maria Christina
House Orange-Nassau
Father Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Mother Juliana of the Netherlands
Religion Roman Catholicism
prev. Calvinism

Princess Christina of the Netherlands (Maria Christina; born 18 February 1947)[1][2] is the youngest of four daughters born to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.

Early life


Princess Christina, known then as Princess Marijke (her first name in Dutch), was born Princess Maria Christina on 18 February 1947, at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn Netherlands. Her mother was the then Princess Juliana, Princess of Orange, only child and heir of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and her late husband Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the line of succession to her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina. Her father was Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, a son of Prince Bernhard of Lippe and his wife Armgard von Cramm.

Christina has three older sisters: Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet.

At her baptism on 9 October 1947, her godparents included: Queen Wilhelmina (her maternal grandmother), her eldest sister Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Winston Churchill (for whom her father stood proxy), her paternal grandmother Princess Armgard, Felix, Prince Consort of Luxembourg and his niece Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.[3][4]


During pregnancy, her mother had contracted German measles and as a result, Christina 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.[5]

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.

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

Despite her initial handicap, Christina was a bright and happy child, with a 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 French.

Like her sisters, Christina joined the Scouts as a young girl.


Princess Christina and Jorge Guillermo in 1975

In 1963, Princess Marijke changed her name to 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 under the name Christina van Oranje, the Princess met and started a relationship with a Cuban exile named Jorge Pérez y Guillermo, himself a teacher for the Addie May Collins Shelter of Harlem and a former hotelier. Guillermo was born in Havana on 1 August 1946. He is the son of Federico Gilberto Pérez y Castillo and wife Edenia Mercedes Guillermo y Marrero, who died in Florida in 2002; his brother, Gilberto Pérez y Guillermo, was a film studies professor.

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 Carlos Hugo, Duke of 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.[6]

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. Following their marriage, they lived in New York but later moved to the Netherlands, where they built Villa Eikenhorst in Wassenaar, near The Hague.[6]

Their children are:

Princess Christina was divorced in 1996 and then returned with her children to live in the United States. Since her mother's death, she has lived in London and in Monte Argentario, Italy.

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

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
Princess Christina of The Netherlands
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am



See also List of honours of the Dutch Royal Family by country

National honours

Foreign honours



  1. Hunter, Brian (1 June 1992). The Statesman's Year-Book 1992–93. Macmillan. p. 992. ISBN 978-0-333-55836-2. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  3. "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.
  4. "Indrukwekkende gebeurtenis in de Domstad: Plechtige doop van Prinses Marijke". Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch). 9 October 1947.
  5. Carroll, Lorna (10 June 1963). "Pediatric Surgery Has Given A New Life To Many Children". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 3D.
  6. 1 2 Lammers, Fred (19 September 1994). "Huwelijk Christina niet zo romantisch". Trouw (in Dutch).
  7. "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.
  8. "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.
  9. "Huisorden: De Huisorde van de Gouden Leeuw van Nassau" (in Dutch). Royal House of the Netherlands. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013.
  10. "1962, 25th Wedding Anniversary of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, The group of dignitries are pictured at the State Dinner". Getty Images. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  11. Geheugen van Nederland (photo)
  12. Group Photo of the members of the Nepalese and Dutch Royal Family during the state visit
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