Monday, December 06, 2004

HRH Prince Bernhard, 1911-2004

Although it is a holiday (Sinteklaas, the old Dutch version of Christmas), that's all been overshadowed by the passing of the Queen's father, who died a few days ago.

Bernhard, a German Prince by birth, fought fiercely for his adopted country in WWII,shooting at Nazi planes from his palace, fleeing to England to train and serve as a fighter pilot. He was married to Queen Juliana for over 60 years, smoke and drank heavily his entire life, went from a passionate hunter to conservationist and co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund. He crashed several cars, got tainted by a bribery scandal, had an open falling-out with his wife about her reliance on a faith healer (the government stepped in to mediate), and he won the love of millions of subjects, from veterans to factory workers to the country's jet-set. A big life, lived large.

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