Prince Bernhard was the prince consort of Queen Juliana, and the father of the current Queen Beatrix.


Bernhard van Lippe-Biesterfeld was born in the German Grand Duchy of Saksen-Weimar-Eisenach. After his schooling he joined a chemicals company as a trainee. Soon afterwards, he met the Dutch crown princess Juliana. The pair became engaged on 8 September 1936 and were married on 7 January 1937. As well as the honorary military titles he had already gained, Bernhard was named ‘Prince of the Netherlands'.

White carnation

As a student, Bernhard had developed a habit of wearing a white carnation on his lapel at public engagements. This led to the creation of Carnation Day, on his birthday in 1940. Many people in the Netherlands wore a white carnation as a form of public protest against the German occupation.


In the mid-70s, Prince Bernhard was suspected of involvement in a bribery case. Following an investigation, he resigned as inspector general of the armed forces.

Missing man

Prince Bernhard's health began to fail by around 2000. His condition worsened in late 2004, and he died. He was interred in the royal crypt of the New Church ten days later. As a tribute, the Royal Airforce flew overhead before the funeral service with three F16s and a Spitfire, in a so-called missing man formation. A white carnation was placed on his coffin.

Timeline »

Close timeline ×