Prince Claus of the Netherlands

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Prince Claus of the Netherlands, father of King Willem-Alexander and the consort of Queen Beatrix, died on this day in 2002, 15 years ago. Born Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg in 1928, as the only son of Claus Felix von Amsberg and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen, he grew up in Tanganyika and Germany and had to serve as a member of the Hitler Youth. After WWII, he studied law and joined the German diplomatic corps, serving in Santo Domingo and the Ivory Coast. In 1966, he married Crown Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, after having known each other for four years, in the midst of public disapproval, though he later became one of the most popular members of the family. The couple had three sons and she succeeded to the Throne in 1980. Prince Claus became an expert of Third World Development and established the Prince Claus Fund. However, he suffered with depression, cancer and Parkinson’s disease, dying on this day in 2002 after a long illness.

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