Christina, a Dutch Princess Who Married a Commoner, Dies at 72

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Princess Christina of the Netherlands, who married the Cuban-born administrator of a day care center in New York City and renounced her royal right of succession, died in Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on Friday. She was 72.

The government announced her death on behalf of the Royal House of the Netherlands in a statement that said she had bone cancer.

Christina was the youngest of four daughters to Queen Juliana, who died in 2004, and her German-born husband, Prince Bernhard.

As a royal, she shunned the spotlight, focusing on singing and collecting art with her husband, Jorge Guillermo, whom she married in 1975, raising a spate of publicity. Around the time they met, Christina had been living in New York and teaching music and French at a private school under the name Christina Van Oranje. Mr. Guillermo was described as an assistant director of a day care center in Harlem who had worked at Chase Manhattan Bank and was writing a book on opera. He had come to the United States in 1960 from Cuba with his father, a doctor, and his mother, a minister of higher education in the years before Fidel Castro took power.

Their wedding at the cathedral in Utrecht included some 1,100 guests, but it was relatively low-key and did not include the usual panoply of European royals.

The couple had three children, Bernardo, Nicolás and Juliana. They divorced in 1996.

With the marriage, Christina left the line of succession to the Dutch throne and lived outside the royal court, in Italy, the United States, including a number of years in New York, and Canada. Her sister, Queen Beatrix, abdicated in 2013. Queen Beatrix survives her, as do her other sisters, the princesses Margriet and Irene.

Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, said that by relinquishing her right to the throne, Christina “created room for herself to lead her own life.”

It was, he said, “a life dominated by family, her great love of music and development of young singing talent.”

She was also interested in dance and sound therapy and worked with a foundation, “sharing her knowledge of techniques related to dance, sound and physical contact in support of the blind and visually impaired,” the statement said.

Christina was born on Feb. 18, 1947. At birth, she was partially blind and her mother sought help from a faith healer, Greet Hofmans, a decision that led to a royal crisis.

Ms. Hofmans reportedly exerted increasing influence over Queen Juliana to the annoyance of Prince Bernhard, leading to rumors of a possible divorce. The royal couple, however, remained married.

The New York Times contributed reporting.


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