On 10 March 1965, the engagement between Princess Margriet, third daughter of then Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, and Pieter van Vollenhoven was announced. They had met in 1963 while they were studying law. Pieter graduated in 1965, while Princess Margriet did not leave with a diploma. As the engagement was announced, Pieter was actually recovering from a triple leg fracture after a skiing accident.
Although Queen Juliana told the press of her “joy” at the engagement of her third daughter, others were more apprehensive. Pieter would be the first commoner to marry into the Dutch royal family. Dutch newspaper Het Parool wrote about it being “not traditional” and, although they don’t seem judgemental, they appeared to link the welcoming of commoner Pieter to the lack of suitable protestant princely candidates.1 Another newspaper commented that he was “just a young man, of which there are so many.”2 Nevertheless, the general public seemed to welcome the breath of fresh air.
Pieter and Princess Margriet would have to wait nearly two years before being able to get married. Her elder sister Princess Beatrix, the future Queen, would marry precisely one year after Margriet and Pieter’s engagement announcement on 10 March 1966 to Claus von Amsberg. But while Claus may have been from the untitled nobility, he too was not a Prince. However, as the future consort of the Queen, he was created His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands on his wedding day. And so began a discussion as what to call Pieter, should he be made a Prince as well? There is some debate whether or not Pieter asked for a title, but he did not receive one in the end.
In early 1967, it was decided that any of their children would be titled as Prince(ss) of Orange-Nassau with the style of Highness with the additional last name of “van Vollenhoven.”3
On 10 January 1967, Princess Margriet walked down the aisle of the St. Jacobschurch in The Hague in a gown of white cloqué with a pattern of daisies and long sleeves. Her train was 5 metres long and was also embroidered with daisies. Keeping with the daisy theme – her tiara also featured daisies of diamond with a heart of pearl.
Among the foreign royal guests were Princess Kira and Prince Friedrich of Prussia, Prince Moritz of Hesse (later Landgrave), Prince Charles of Luxembourg, Princess Christina of Sweden and the future Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and her fiance. Princess Margriet later described the day as “unforgettable.”
Margriet and Pieter went on to have four sons and 11 grandchildren.