German-Born Dutch Prince Laid to Rest | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.12.2004
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German-Born Dutch Prince Laid to Rest

Prince Bernhard, the German-born father of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was laid to rest on Saturday while a trumpeteer played "The Last Post" in a religious ceremony with military honors.


Bernhard's signature white carnation adorned the coffin

Bernhard, who was loved among the Dutch for his wartime military service, died Dec. 1, aged 93.

As Bernhard's coffin was carried into the royal crypt a trumpeteer sounded "The Last Post", a solo usually played to commemorate fallen soldiers.

The prince's four daughters, dressed in off-white, followed the coffin into the crypt as the choir sang Faure's requiem.

Some 1,900 people were present in the church including many European royals such as King Albert II of the Belgians, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Denmark's Prince Henrik, Britain's Prince Philip, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia of Sweden, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

To mark Bernhard's longstanding connection to the armed forces -- he served as a commander in chief on the Allied side during World War II -- the funeral included military honours, with fighterjets flying in a "missing man" formation over the church to symbolize his passing.

The Protestant service was to be led by minister Carel ter Linden, who recalled the prince's "colourful life."

Head of Dutch Resistance

Prinz Bernhard gestorben

Bernhard reviews a parade of war veterans in the eastern Dutch town of Wageningen on May 5, 2004

Bernhard (photo), a German prince born on June 29, 1911, married crown princess Juliana in 1937 after meeting her at the Olympic Games in Austria. The prince introduced Juliana to the good life with fast cars, luxury holidays and designer clothes.

That ended in 1940 when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Bernhard, a one time member of the SS firmly chose the Dutch side and headed the Dutch resistance from London where the Dutch government and his mother-in-law, queen Wilhelmina, resided in exile.

From that time on the dapper prince always wore a white carnation in his lapel. The carnation started as a symbol of resistance to the German occupation but became a trademark for Bernhard who was never seen in public without the flower in his buttonhole.

Königin Juliana Niederlande

Dutch Queen Juliana died aged 94 on March 20, 2004

On Saturday Bernhard's coffin was covered with the Dutch flag and a single white carnation.

After Juliana (photo) became queen of the Netherlands in 1948 Bernhard was made inspector general of the armed forces and conducted official and unofficial economic missions for the government.

Founder of World Wildlife Fund

Internationally the prince was best known as the founder of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1961. He was its president until 1977.

Earlier on Saturday the coffin carrying the prince's mortal remains was brought from the royal palace in The Hague to nearby Delft. For the 12 kilometer (eight mile) journey the coffin was being transported on a gun carriage drawn by six horses. Soldiers in ceremonial dress lined the route.

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