The Bridal Party of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard

82 years ago Princess Juliana of the Netherlands married Prince Bernhard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld. The wedding was being held on 7 January 1937 in the Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk (Great, or St. James Church) in The Hague, The Netherlands. When some years ago I tried to find out who they were, it turned out that wasn’t that easy. The four bridal children were easy, the 12 men and 12 women who formed the biggest part of the bridal party weren’t. Lots of names in newspapers and books but often without first name, or even initials. It took me quite a while to find their names.

Copyright: ANP/Benelux Press

The twelve men were:

  • Vincenz Prince zu Windisch-Grätz (1913-2005)¹
  • Count Fabian zu Dohna-Schlodien (1908-1992)
  • Count Claus Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (1909-1983)
  • Count Johannes “Hans” Welczeck (1911-1969)
  • Aschwin Baron von Cramm (1906-1962)
  • Berno  Baron von Cramm (1911-1942)
  • Karl “Talle” Baron von Vietinghoff gen. Scheel (1914-1984)
  • Gijsbert “Gijs” baron van Hardenbroek van Lockhorst (1902-1960)
  • Jonkheer Gerard Beelaerts van Blokland (1908-1997)
  • Jonkheer Willem Röell (1905-1942)
  • Edouard Durieu du Souzy, Commander of the 18th “Chasseurs à Cheval” (1894-1988)²
  • Fenton Moran (1907-1958)

The twelve women were:

  • Princess Sieglinde zur Lippe (1915-2008)
  • Princess Elisabeth zur Lippe (1916-2013)
  • Duchess Woizlawa Feodora von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1918-2019 )
  • Duchess Thyra von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1919-1981)
  • Princess Kira of Russia (1909-1967)
  • Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg (1907-1979) – she seems to have been replaced by Jonkvrouwe Catharina Elisabeth Boudewina “Binebeth” Roëll (1911-1995)³
  • Albertine baroness van Heeckeren van Kell (1899-1994) – she replaced Princess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1911-1988), who wasn’t able to come
  • Marianne Jacqueline baroness van Heemstra (1903-1991)
  • Jonkvrouw Ariane Margaretha de Brauw (1911-1981)
  • Martine del Court van Krimpen (1916-2010)
  • Marguerite Michelin Moreau (1908-1983)
  • Maria “Mies” Rooseboom (1909-1978)°

The flower children:

  • Countess Svea von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1925-2004)
  • Duchess Eilika von Oldenburg (1928-2016)
  • Prinz Armin zur Lippe (1924-2015)
  • Count Caspar von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1926-2009)

The witnesses:

  • Prince Aschwin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld (1914-1988), brother of the groom
  • Duke Adolf von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1873-1969), uncle of the bride
  • Prince Julius Ernst zur Lippe (1873-1952), uncle of the groom
  • Rabe Caspar von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff (1899-1980), cousin of the groom
  • Jonkvrouwe Louise Pauline van de Poll (1857-1943), honorary lady-in-waiting and 1909-1920 educator of Princess Juliana
  • Jonkheer Frans Beelaerts van Blokland (1872-1956), chamberlain in extraordinary service
  • Professor Johan Huizinga (1872-1945), Julianas Professor at the University of Leiden, leading historian. He replaced the Prince zu Wied, likely Friedrich Fürst zu Wied (1872-1945), who cancelled his visit days before the wedding
  • Alexis (von) Pantchulidzew (1888-1968), family friend of the Lippe-Biesterfelds

As off 2019 all people in the bridal party have died. Prince Armin zur Lippe died in August 2015. Even when being old he remembered vividly having been one of the bridal children and had to wear shoes of an aunt of his, while the shoes he was supposed to wear didn’t fit. Duchess Eilika von Oldenburg, Juliana’s goddaughter, who later married Fürst Emich zu Leiningen, died on 26 January 2016 in Amorbach, Germany. She didn’t recover anymore after a nasty fall just before Christmas. She was one week short of her 88th birthday. The last person in the bridal party to be alive was Princess Woizlawa Feodora Reuss née Duchess von Mecklenburg Schwerin, who died on 3 June 2019 in Strittmatt, Schwarzwald, Germany, at the age of 100, after a short illness.

Copyright: Angelika Steiner-Bilker, November 2018

¹ A well informed contact told me this should be Prince Vincenz zu Windisch-Graetz (1913-2005), who was a good friend of Prince Bernhard’s. This is confirmed by Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis”.

² The name can be found in various spellings. I have seen E. de Sousie, E. de Souzie and Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis” says E. du Souzy. In an article about the Silver Wedding of the couple in 1962 he is mentioned as General E. du Souzy. It is therefore quite likely he is Edouard Durieu du Souzy (1894-1988), who in an online genealogy is listed as a Général de Brigade and in 1949 became Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur.

³ Annejet van der Zijl in her book “Bernhard. Een verborgen geschiedenis” identifies eleven of the twelve maids of honour. She doesn’t list Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg and Albertine baroness van Heeckeren van Kell. Instead she has listed Jonkvrouwe Binebeth Roëll, who was Jonkvrouwe Catharina Elisabeth Boudewina Roëll (1911-1995). Also her Wikipedia entry lists her as maid of honour of Juliana at her wedding. This interesting article lists all bridesmaids as above, so “Binebeth” must have replaced Countess Helene zu Erbach-Schönberg.

° She was a good friend of Princess Juliana. See

Article edited 4 June 2019

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