Claus von Amsberg

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Prince Claus of the Netherlands (: Jhr. Claus van Amsberg; birth name: Klaus-Georg von Amsberg; September 6, 1926 – October 6, 2002) was the prince consort of the current Queen regnant of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix.



Prince Claus was born Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg, on his family's estate, Haus Dötzingen near Hitzacker, Germany. His parents were Claus Felix von Amsberg and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen. His father, a member of the untitled German nobility, operated a large farm in Tanganyika from 1928 until World War II. Claus and his six sisters grew up on their grandparents' manor in Lower Saxony; he also attended a boarding school in Tanzania from 1936 to 1938.

The future prince was a member of such Nazi youth organisations as Deutsches Jungvolk and the Hitler Youth (membership in the latter was mandatory for all fit members of his generation) [1]. From 1938 until 1942, he attended the Baltenschule Misdroy.

In 1944, he was conscripted into the German Wehrmacht, becoming a soldier in the German 90th Panzergrenadier Division in Italy in March, 1945, but taken as a prisoner of war by the American forces at Meran before taking part in any fighting. After his repatriation, he finished school in Lüneburg and studied law in Hamburg. He then joined the German diplomatic corps and worked in Santo Domingo and Côte d'Ivoire. In the 1960s, he was transferred to Bonn.

Claus and Beatrix met at the wedding-eve party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, in the summer of 1964. Sections of the Dutch population were unhappy that Beatrix's fiancé was a German, only twenty years after the end of the war, and there were protests during the wedding celebrations, most notably by the anarchist-artist group Provo. The pair nonetheless were married on March 10, 1966.

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