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Netherlands mourns death of Queen Juliana

March 21, 2004
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The people of the Netherlands are bidding a sad farewell to one of their best-loved figures, after Queen Juliana passed away at the age of 94. The People's Queen, as she was known, died of pneumonia on Saturday morning.

Juliana reigned from 1948 until her abdication in favour of Beatrix in 1980. The unconventional monarch, who rode a bicycle and insisted on shopping at her local supermarket, played a key role in helping her country recover from World War Two.

It was the Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, who best summed up the country's sadness when he said: "The Netherlands has lost its mother."

"Together with Prince Bernhard, she worked for the reconstruction of our country after World War II," he continued. "Supported by her religion, she was an indefatigable campaigner for solidarity, community spirit and human dignity."

In her tireless efforts to champion peace around the world, the monarch also ruffled diplomatic feathers, most notably when she called for "more understanding between nations," during a speech in the US Congress.

Juliana's husband Prince Bernhard and three of her four daughters, including Queen Beatrix, were at her bedside when she passed away.

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Photo: ©
Queen Juliana worked hard to bring the monarchy closer to the people. She died on Saturday morning at Soestdijk PalacePhoto: © AFP

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