On Tuesday 18 February 1947 at 2.24am a little princess was born at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, The Netherlands. Later that day her father Prince Bernhard told in a radio progarmme that Princess Juliana was doing fine. Apparently both grandmothers – Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Princess Armgard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld – were present. At 6.45 her sisters Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet were awakened, met their little sister for the first time, and Beatrix even held her in her arms.
The birth was registered on 19 February 1947 by the mayor of Baarn, Jonkheer mr. Frans van Beeck Calkoen, in the dining room at Soestdijk Palace. At 11am Prince Bernhard – in gala uniform – presented the baby, who was awake but silent, to the people present. Prince Bernhard announced that her names were Maria Christina, but that they would name her “Marijke”. The names were chosen because of the sound and because they’re meaningful, her father Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands said. She wasn’t named after somebody. The witnesses were Prime Minister Louis Beel and the vice-president of the State Council, Jonkheer mr. Frans Beelaerts van Blokland. Marijke wore a lace dress with a rosette of pearls, surrounding a bigger pearl.
The father himself took the first pictures of his fourth daughter, who has dark blond hair and dark blue eyes. On 19 February the news agency ANP was received at the palace and spoke with Prince Bernhard, Beatrix, Irene and Margriet. They all ate the traditional Dutch birth treat “beschuit met muisjes” (rusk with mice). Beatrix told that her sister looked nice, “and the best of all are her nails, they look like they are varnished”. Clearly the little sister already had a loud voice too. At the end Beatrix suddenly said:”I had prefered a brother”, about which her father was very amused.
Princess Marijke was christened on 9 October 1947 at the Dom Church in Utrecht. Two weeks earlier the newspapers reported that the godparents of the princess would be Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Winston Churchill, Mrs Röell-Feith (née jonkvrouw Sophia Christina Feith, who had been the nanny of the other three royal children for eight years), Mrs J. (Dina) Post-Salomons (widow of resistance fighter Johannes Post) and Mr Albert John Andrée Wiltens (also a resistance fighter). Unfortunately of the foreign godparents only Grand Duchess Charlotte was able to attend. The Crown Prince of Sweden was represented by the Swedish ambassador Mr Lagerberg, as he had to be present at a visit of the King of Denmark to his country. Also Winston Churchill was too busy to attend and was represented by his daughter Mrs Mary Soames. In the end also Marijke’s youngest sister Princess Margriet couldn’t attend, as she was recovering from a middle ear infection. Present were of course the baby herself, her parents and two eldest sisters, as well as Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Princess Armgard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld, Prince Aschwin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld, Prince Felix of Luxembourg, the Sultan (Hamed) and Sultane of Pontianak. In total there were about 1200 guests, mainly politicians, other important Dutch people and staff. I have seen some other names mentioned online, but couldn’t find a trace of them in the newspapers.
Just after 11am on 9 October seven royal cars arrived at the Dom Church, where they were greeted. At 11.15am they went into the church, headed by Queen Wilhelmina with the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Princess Juliana – dressed in blue – followed with Princess Marijke, whose almost two metres long veil of the christening robe of white Brussels lace was carried by her sisters Beatrix and Irene, and by Prince Bernhard. The family and most important guests were seated in front of the baptismal font. The service was led by court pastor Johan Frederik Berkel. He had chosen the preachings of Isaiah 43: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine”. During his speech little Marijke, who had been sleeping, woke up. Prince Bernhard held the little princess when she was baptised. The service lasted for about one hour.