SPECIAL: Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien 12.5 years of marriage

 The history

Prince Constantijn Christof Frederik Aschwin Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg was born in Utrecht on 11. October 1969 as the third son of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. The Prince has two brothers, King Willem-Alexander (1967) and Prince Friso (1968-2013). He grew up in Lage Vuursche (Castle Drakesteyn) and in 1981 he moved to The Hague (House Ten Bosch Palace ).

The Prince received his primary education at the Nieuwe Baarnse School in Baarn and his secondary education at the Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum in The Hague, where he gained his VWO (pre-university education) certificate in 1987. During the 1987/1988 academic year, Prince Constantijn attended language courses in France and Italy.

In 1995 he gained his master’s degree in law from Leiden University where he specialised in civil law. In 2000 he studied business economics at the European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau (INSEAD).

Princess Laurentien was born in Leiden on 25 May 1966  as Petra Laurentien. She is the daughter of former minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and his wife Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa. She  has a brother Marius. Princess Laurentien spent part of her childhood in Japan.

Princess Laurentien received her secondary education at The Hague and later at the Lycée français in Tokyo, Japan, where she passed the Baccalauréat A examinations. After het secondary education she studied History at the University of Groningen, where she completing her foudation year in 1986 and then continue in London. There she  received in 1989 a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of London (Queen Mary College). In July 1991, the Princess took her Master of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in the United States.

Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien know each other from childhood. The mother of Princess Laurentien is remained friends with Queen Beatrix after she lived together in the same house in Leiden in their student days. The friendship between the mothers from Prince Constantijn en Princess Laurentien don’t mean that they saw each other often. The couple got to know each other a better years later in Brussels. From 1995, there was a real relationship

The engagement
After a relationship of 5 years  Prince Constantijn lured his future wife to her home in Brussels where she saw a sea of flowers. A few weeks later (on December 16, 2000), the engagement was announced. This was done through a press release and a press conference in the vestibule of Huis ten Bosch, where both parents were present.

Video

Marriage

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The civil marriage was on 17 May 2001 in the Old Council Chamber at city hall of The Hague . Princess Laurentien wore a pink dress with parelmour mantle of raw silk that was made by the Belgian fashion designer Edouard Vermeulen of the Natan couture house in Brussels. The bridal bouquet at the civil marriage mainly consisted  of sweet peas, which was the favorite flower of Princess Juliana. The ceremony was , with the exception of Princess Juliana, attended by all (adult) members. There was a special welcome for Prince Bernhard by Mayor Deetman. During the ceremony Prince Friso (brother of Constantijn), Mikkel Hofstee (good friend of Constantijn), Marius Brinkhorst (brother of Laurentien) and Sophie  van de Wauw (Laurentien her  best friend) were the witnesses.
During the ceremony, the marriage vows was spoken and there were several speeches. After the ceremony in the city hall the couple spoke to the press.  On the Huis ten Bosch Palace, they spent the rest of the day  with all guests. There  was a dinner and they dancing until late evening. It was a rainy day, but that does not make sence. The couple enjoy a ride in an open car.

Arrival newlywedsAgain arriving of  newlyweds –  Arrival Queen Beatrix and Prince Bernhard – Princess Laurentien looking over the shoulders of Prince Constantijn A kiss on the hand  for Princess Laurentien –  Another kiss on the hand  – Prince Constantijn embracing his father –Sprinkled with leaves by depature

Two days later, on 19  May 2001, the couple married in the St. Jacob’s Church in The Hague for the church. In contrast to the civil marriage was it  sunny that day in The Hague. Princess Laurentien had an ivory dress made by Edouard Vermeulen with a the train of more than 3.5 meters. The bridal bouquet composed of orange blossom, Gardenia, Bougainvillea, Rose Emerald Green, Rose Avalanche, Snowball, and Convallaria.  The bridesmaids were Princess Carolina de Bourbon-Parme and Charlotte Waldeck. The brideschildren were Alice gravin Von Oeynhausen-Sierstropff; Gabriella Crossick-Kountourides; Julius-Constantin Freiherr von dem Busch-Haddenhausen; and Floris de Nijs Bik.

For the weddingday they use carriages, which left from Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. In the first carriage sat Marius Brinkhorst (brother of the bride) and his wife; in the second carriage were Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima (then not yet married, just engaged) and Prince Friso;  the third carriage were for the parents of the bride and groom; in the fourth carriage were the bridesmaids and the bride children. The fifth and last carriage was open and  for the bridal couple.

For the church wedding about 1,400 people were invite. Among them are many members of royal or imperial family  such as Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden; Britain’s Prince Edward and wife Sophie, Prince Haakon of Norway (then his fiancée) Princess Mette-Marit; former King Constantine of Greece (godfather of the groom); Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg with wife Sibilla; King Filip  of Belgium with his pregnant wife Queen Matilde, Prince Hassan binTalal and Princess Sarvath  El Hassan of Jordan; Prince Nikolaus von und zu Liechtenstein with his wife Margarethe; and the Japanese Prince Akishino and his wife. Except Princess Juliana the entire royal family was present. There was also a a large delegation of government and the guest list was completed by friends of the couple.

The service was led by Carel ter Linden.  Prince Constantijn his brother, Prince Willem-Alexander and the father of Laurentien read a text from the Bible. The witnesses were Prince Friso (brother of Prince Constantijn), Mikkel Hofstee (good friend of prince Constantijn), Marius Brinkhorst (brother of Laurentien) and Sophie  van de Wauw (Laurentien her  best friend), all four  were witnesses at the civil ceremony as well.

Prince Maurits takes pictures for his own archive –  The bridal couple during the ceremony
Photo from departure –  The newlyweds leaving the churchPrincess Laurentien in the carriage – Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima, Professor Pieter, Princess Margriet and Prince Bernhard (sr.) waiting for the coach

The bride and groom in the carriage – Waving in the carriage – The bridesmaids and children in the carriage

After the service the couple drove to Noordeinde Palace where Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien appeared on the balcony for ‘the kiss.’ Then  the parents of the couple also appearon the balcony, wich resulted  in a beautiful moment between the couple and Prince Claus.

After the balcony scene the public part of the wedding day end, but the real party had to begin yet on the palace … Click HERE and HERE for a picture of the dance.

Some offcial photos

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The bride and groom
The bride and groom with there parents
The bridal couple, Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus and Prince Willem-Alexander
The bride and groom with Prince Bernhard
The bride and groom Prince Claus

A video of the church wedding (in Dutch)

Click HERE for a photo series on both days and HERE a picture of the couple on the evening before there marriage.

Family

On 8 June 2002, the first child of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien was born. The girl was given the full name Eloise Sophie Beatrix Laurence.

On 21 March 2004 the family was extended with son Claus-Casimir, full Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max.

And on 3 June 2006 with a second daughter, Leonore, full Leonore Marie Irene Enrica.

Present

Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien meanwhile, live with their three children in Brussels.
Prince Constantijn works as for the European Commission  as Chief of Cabinet of EU Commissioner Ms. N. Kroes, Commissioner for Digital Agenda and Princess Laurentien work at the European Climate Foundation and worked as an independent communications consultant. She has writes children’s books and works for the foundations ‘Reading and  Writing’ , Missing Chapter Foundation and Word Wide  Fund for Nature.


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