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Princess Juliana laid to rest in the Netherlands


March 29, 2004
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Eighteen months after the House of Orange mourned the loss of Queen Beatrix's husband Prince Claus, the Dutch royal family once again gathered to grieve, this time at the funeral of the monarch's beloved mother, Princess Juliana.

It was a sunny but sombre day on Tuesday, as the 94-year-old matriarch, who died on March 20, was laid to rest after a solemn ceremony attended by royals and dignitaries from around the globe. The morning began with a ceremonial procession carrying Princess Juliana's coffin on its final journey from Noordeinde Palace in the Hague, where the late royal had been lying in state for four days, to the Nieuwe Kerk – or New Church – in Delft. 

As many as 50,000 mourners had paid their last respects to the former queen over the weekend, entering the chapel and signing messages in the condolence register.

Bells rang out in honour of the queen mother as her flag-draped coffin was removed from Noordeinde and placed in a horse-drawn hearse, which was bedecked with a golden crown, and, at Princess Juliana's request, white ostrich plumes on each corner. 

Thousands stood along the 13-kilometre route, lined with a 9,000-strong honour guard, as the cortege, including carriages carrying Queen Beatrix and her three sisters, as well Princess Juliana's grandchildren, slowly progressed through the streets. 

Prince Bernhard, Princess Juliana's husband, who attended the ceremony despite his failing health, was also among 1,800 invitees who gathered at Nieuwe Kerk for a moving one-hour service to bid a final farewell to the princess. 

Members of 15 other royal families, including the houses of Sweden, Denmark, Jordan, Spain, Norway and Japan, were also in attendance to honour the much-loved queen mother, who abdicated her throne to daughter Queen Beatrix in 1980 after a 32-year reign. 

Princess Juliana, who died in her sleep at home at Soestdijk palace, is to be buried in the church's 400-year-old crypt, next to her parents, Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
Hundreds of mourners, including the princess' children and grandchildren, gathered in a flower and candle-filled church to bid farewellPhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Queen Beatrix, dressed in white, clasps the hand of her father Prince Bernhard during the servicePhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Princess Juliana's coffin was taken from Noordeinde Palace in the Hague, where the late royal had been lying in state, to the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft for the funeralPhoto: © AFP

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