The bridal couple (photo copyrighted by the RVD)
The civil marriage of Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven and Annette Sekrève was closed by burgomaster Mrs. Brouwer-Korf in the hall of mirrors at Paushuize in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The bride and groom arrived and left in an old Minerva (car), that once belonged to Bernhard's great-grandfather Prince Hendrik. Annette wore a light blue lady's suit, by designer Frans Molenaar, and a very striking hat. Prince Bernhard wore a light blue tie so he fit with his bride.
Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Claus, Willem-Alexander Prince of Oranje, Princess Irene, Princess Christina, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Pieter Christiaan, Prince Floris, Laurentien Brinkhorst (girlfriend of Prince Constantijn), the two sisters of the bride and of course the parents of both bride and groom.
After the wedding there was a lunch at Soestdijk Palace. Also Prince Bernhard sr. and Princess Juliana were present there.
For the couple the wedding day started early in the morning on Soestdijk Palace and from there they and their families left for Utrecht. Me, Hein, Henri and Verena left in the morning from Apeldoorn by train and arrived in Utrecht just before 10 'o clock in the morning. We weren’t the first royalty-watchers who arrived at the Dom church. We also discovered Oscar and his friends and finally a few thousand people were standing on the small square in front of the Dom church. We found ourselves quite a nice place on the site of the entrance of the church. It was cold and cloudy but we enjoyed ourselves until the busses all together with about 500 guests arrived. Nobody interesting, but the (female) guests wore very colourful - and sometimes also awful - clothes. After 11 'o clock it started to become more interesting. Some cars arrived also and we saw several (old) politicians, including the Prime Minister Wim Kok, and even a Dutch television-soap star who is a friend of the groom. The royal guests, the family Van Vollenhoven and the family of Annette arrived in the last two busses, and they passed actually too quickly. Verena saw her first live royal (Willem-Alexander) and I just managed to get a glimpse of Princess Christina of Sweden and her husband. Passing us also were Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Pieter-Christiaan, Prince Floris, Princess Marilène, Princess Irene, Princess Christina with her daughter Juliana Guillermo, the children of Princess Irene - Carlos, Jaime, Margarita and Carolina - and the Duke of Parme. It was for the first time in about 20 years that Princess Irene and her former husband attended the same celebration. The groom arrived with his older brother Prince Maurits in an open Ford Landauer, borrowed from the Queen, and looked quite nervous. Just before noon Annette arrived in a car together with her father. She wore an ivory-coloured classical dress designed by Frans Molenaar. Just before walking into the church a young girl gave her a small bouquet of white lilies, and received a kiss from the thankful bride.
The sermon of the Rev. Anne van der Meiden contained some references to the modern ways of communication (Prince Bernhard has his own internet company) and the main themes were friendship and family. He also referred to the fact that the bride and groom didn’t want a (royal) fairytale wedding. The church service sounded very optimistic. After exchanging the rings, they got the time to kiss each other, which they did intensively.
The lectures were read by Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris, the two youngest brothers of the groom. For the first time the Dutch could hear Princess Christina (a mezzo-soprano) singing, she sang "Amarilli" of Caccini. The service was closed by the swinging gospel choir of Berget Lewis, singing 'You 've got a friend' and many guests clapped their hands and swinged also. The broadcasting television channel gave the wedding some hilarity at the very end. Suddenly the voice of the commentator sounded through the church: a switch-mistake of the sound-technician.
Bride and groom and a part of the family came outside through the front entrance of the Dom church to greet the public outside. We had switched places so we stood right in front of that entrance and saw the couple coming very close, and of course we made some photos. Unfortunately they didn’t shake hands where we stood. But we were able to see the kiss.
We waited outside the church until most of the interesting guests, except for the bride and groom, and some family, had left. First Princess Christina and Juliana Guillermo left, and also Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. Later also the royal bus left with among others Willem-Alexander Prince of Oranje and the children of Princess Irene. We waved them goodbye and left then, stiff and cold, but happy we had been able to see the wedding in real. By the way before we left Henri gave a little interview to a Dutch television channel and we saw it late in the evening. I was standing next to Henri, but unfortunately Verena and Hein had been cut off.
In the afternoon a big party was held in Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. There was a concert of René Froger, a popular Dutch singer who sings in English. Friends of the newly-weds performed some funny plays. The couple and their guests danced and partied until the early hours. One newspaper said she was there, another says no. But if Máxima Zorreguieta really was there? We may find out later.