Skip to main content
CNN Europe CNN Asia
On CNN TV Transcripts Headline News CNN International About Preferences
powered by Yahoo!

The Netherlands' Prince Claus dies

Prince Claus had suffered a series of ailments during the past 10 years.
Prince Claus had suffered a series of ailments during the past 10 years.

   Story Tools

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (Reuters) -- Prince Claus of the Netherlands, the husband of Queen Beatrix, died on Sunday, the government information service said.

The 76-year-old prince, who had suffered from sporadic ill-health over the past decade, died at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) in an Amsterdam hospital, it said in a statement.

Claus had been in intensive care with respiratory and heart problems. His failing left kidney was removed in May last year. In 1991, doctors diagnosed him with a mild form of Parkinson's disease.

The exact cause of his death was not immediately clear. The royal couple's three sons were at Claus's bedside when he died, Dutch television reported.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was to address the nation in a live television broadcast later on Sunday.

The former German diplomat became one of the most popular members of the Dutch royal family, overcoming a storm of protest when he married the then heiress to the Dutch throne in March 1966 in a country still smarting from German occupation in World War II.

Burdened by the legacy of his World War II service in a German tank division in Italy, Claus von Amsberg took Dutch citizenship and became a popular partner to Queen Beatrix in the House of Orange.

Claus employed wit, charm and patience to overcome Dutch hostility, The Associated Press reported.

Though born a German aristocrat, Claus showed a humility that appealed to the unassuming Dutch, the agency added. In 1997, he asked the public to refrain from marking his birthday because it coincided with the funeral of Britain's Princess Diana.

In early 1945 he served in the German 90th Panzer Division in Italy, but was captured by U.S. troops without having seen battle. After several months as a prisoner-of-war interpreter in Italy and Britain, he was released in late 1945 and returned to Germany.

Story Tools

Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.