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Princess Christina of the Netherlands

Princess Christina of the Netherlands (born February 18, 1947) is the youngest of Queen Juliana’s four daughters. She was born Marijke Christina on at Soestdijk Palace, The Netherlands. Her mother had contracted German measles during her pregnancy and as a result, the Princess was born nearly blind. Over time, advances in medicine allowed for treatments that, with the aid of special glasses, brought about an improvement in her vision so that she could attend school and live a relatively normal life. Despite this initial handicap, she was a brilliant and happy child, with a very considerable talent for music. Too, she had a capacity for languages and as a young girl delighted the visiting French President René Coty, by conversing fluently with him in his own language.

In 1963, Princess Marijke changed to using her second name, Christina. Pursuing her gift for music, at age 21 she moved to Canada to study classical music in Montreal. After a few years, she accepted a teaching position at a Montessori school in New York City. There, living an ordinary life under the name Christina Van Oranje, the Dutch Princess met and fell in love with a Havana born Cuban exile named Jorge Guillermo, himself a teacher for the Addie May Collins Shelter of Harlem.

Although societal attitudes were changing, because Mr. Guillermo was a Roman Catholic, it was still possible that any marriage could cause another public scandal in the Netherlands such as the one that occurred in 1964 when her sister, Princess Irene married a Catholic from Spain. Accordingly, Princess Christina, at that time ninth in line for the Dutch throne, renounced her and her children's rights to the throne before converting to Catholicism and officially announcing her engagement on Valentine’s Day, 1975.

Married on June 28, 1975, in Utrecht Cathedral in The Netherlands, the newlyweds rode through the streets of the city to the cheers of thousands of Dutch citizens. Following their marriage, she and her husband chose to live in New York but later moved to her native land where they built a home on an estate in Wassenaar, near the Hague.

Their children:

Divorced in 1996, Princess Christina returned with her children to live in the United States.