Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands had a total of 4 children, all girls:
- Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard (b. January, 1938)
- Irene Emma Elisabeth (b. August, 1939)
- Margriet Francisca (b. January, 1943)
- Maria Christina “Marijke” (b. February, 1947)
The middle daughters were both named with current events in mind:
- Irene, born just before World War II began, was named after the Greek goddess of peace. According to Prince Bernhard, “we chose Irene, which means peace, because of the serious international situation.” Here’s how one newspaper put it:
So now against all the war machines and bombers and the marching millions, there stands a little baby, named Irene, to personify the tiny hope that lies within the hearts of the millions, the hope of peace.
- Margriet, born during WWII, “was named after the marguerite flower, the national symbol of resistance [to Nazi Germany] in the Netherlands.” (The family was taking refuge in Canada during the war, and her hospital room “was decreed to be Dutch territory for the occasion so that the princess would be a Dutch citizen.”)
Which of these two names do you like more, Irene or Margriet?
- “Baby Princess Carried to Birth Registration.” Montreal Gazette 8 Aug. 1939: 7.
- Goddard, Lance. Canada and the Liberation of the Netherlands, May 1945. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2005.
- “So They Named Her Irene.” Meriden Daily Journal 18 Aug. 1939: 6.