The Princess was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where the family had been living since June 1940 after the German occupation of the Netherlands. The premises on which Princess Margriet was born were placed temporarily outside the jurisdiction of Canadian law so that she would have exclusively Dutch, and not dual, nationality. She was named after the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of the resistance to Nazi Germany.(See also the book When Canada Was Home, the Story of Dutch Princess Margriet, by Albert VanderMey, Vanderheide.)
It was not until August 1945, when the Netherlands had been liberated, that Princess Margriet first set foot on Dutch soil. Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard returned to Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, where the family had lived before the war.
It was while she was studying at Leiden University that Princess Margriet met her future husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven. Their engagement was announced on 10 March 1965, and they were married on 10 January 1967 in The Hague. It was decreed that any children of the marriage would be styled HH Prince/Princess van Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, titles that would not be hereditary.
The Princess and her husband took up residence in the right wing of Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn. In 1975 the family moved to their present home, Het Loo House, which they had had built near the Palace.
She is in line for succession to the throne and as such, Margriet often represents Queen Beatrix at official or semi-official events. Some of these functions have taken her back to Canada and to events organized by the Dutch merchant marine of which she is a patron.
Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven have four sons: Prince Maurits, born in 1968, Prince Bernhard, born in 1969, Prince Pieter-Christiaan, born in 1972 and Prince Floris, born in 1975. Upon the marriage of Prince Maurits to Marie-Helen van den Broeck in 1998, it was announced that the couple's children would bear the surname van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven. The children of Prince Bernhard and his wife, Annette Sekreve, will be known by the surname van Vollenhoven.