The bell tolled over the small church cemetery in the Dutch village of Lage Vuursche as members of the Dutch Royal Family followed Prince Friso to his final resting place. King Willem-Alexander, his brother Prince Constantijn en four of Friso’s best friends carried the coffin to the grave side. Other members of the family carried the wreaths and flowers which were placed around the grave and against the adjoing fence.
The ceremony at the grave was brief. The congegration of some 80 people prayed the ‘Our Father’ and than paid their farewell, filing in front of Friso’s widow Princess Mabel, their two daughters Countess Luana and Countess Zaria, and Friso’s bereaved mother former queen Beatrix.
For a report on the Funeral Service read: Moving and emotional tribute to Friso
The corner of the small cemetery for which Princess Beatrix donated land some years ago so that it could be expanded, was shielded from public view by fences which were draped with plastic. The road in front of the church and cemetery was closed to all traffic – even cyclists and pedestrians were not allowed to pass as this guaranteed the privacy the Royal Family desired for the funeral.
One by one the family members took their leave of the cemetery. King Willem-Alexander, who succeeded his mother Beatrix less than four months ago, led the way, together with Queen Máxima and their three daughters Amalia, Alexia and Ariane – all three dressed in white, the colour of hope.
They were immediately followed by Prince Constantijn, third and youngest son of Princess Beatrix and the late Prince Claus. His wife Princess Laurentien lovingly put her arm around the shoulder of King Harald of Norway, godfather to Prince Friso, and a close friend of the Dutch Royal Family. The Norwegian wreath simply read ‘The Family in Norway’.
King Harald was the only foreign royal guest at the funeral, which did see Italy’s Foreign Minister Emma Bonino attend as well, as good friend of Princess Mabel and godmother to her eldest daughter Emma Luana.
The Dutch Royal Family wanted it to be a private affair, far away from the pomp of a traditional royal funeral in Delft’s Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, the traditional burial place of the House of Orange since 1584. Instead Prince Friso, 44, who passed away Monday August 12th, in a lodge next to his mother’s residence Huis ten Bosch Palace, was buried in the village he grew up in, Lage Vuursche.
The one street village, best known for its pancake or pannenkoeken restaurants, was Beatrix’ home till 1981, when she moved her family to The Hague, one year after she became queen. ‘I have wonderful memories of Drakensteyn’, Friso once said about his childhood home, the small and intimate Drakensteyn Castle, which is next to the cemetery and local 17th centery protestant church.
Princess Mabel, her daughters and princess Beatrix were the last to leave the cemetery and head back to Drakensteyn, observed from a great distance by a small quiet crowd of the curious, royal fans and the media.
Afterwards the Royal Family permitted the release of some pictures and footage of the funeral service.
© RoyalBlogNL, Hans Jacobs; Photos: HANDOUT ANP Koen van Weel; Royal Press Europe, Albert Nieboer