Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld

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Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (29 June 1911 - 1 December 2004), later Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, was prince consort of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and father of six children, including the current monarch Queen Beatrix.

Although his private life was rather controversial, Bernhard was a decorated war hero and was generally regarded as a charming and popular figure by the majority of the Dutch for his performance as a combat pilot and his activities as a liaison officer and personal aid to the Queen during World War II, his work during post-war reconstruction, and for assisting specific individuals.[citation needed]

During World War II the German-born prince was part of the London based Allied war planning councils and an active RAF wing commander flying both fighter and bomber planes into combat. He was a Dutch general and supreme commander of the Dutch Armed forces, involved in negotiating the terms of surrender of the German army in the Netherlands.

For proven bravery, leadership and loyalty during his wartime efforts he was awarded the rank of knight commander in the chivalric Military William Order, the oldest and highest honour in the Netherlands. After the War he was also made honorary Air Marshal of the RAF by Queen Elizabeth II.

Bernhard helped found the World Wildlife Fund (later renamed World Wide Fund for Nature), becoming its first president in 1961. He also established the 1001 Club: A Nature Trust in 1970 to fund the organization.

He helped found the Rotary International and was one of two founders of the international Bilderberg Group, which meets yearly in order to discuss the future of the world and issues concerning Europe as it relates to corporate globalization. He was forced to step down from both groups after being involved in the Lockheed Bribery Scandals.


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