Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beatrix of the Netherlands in Hudson

On Monday, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced that she would abdicate the throne to her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, on April 30, 2013. That event, and that fact that today was Queen Beatrix's seventy-fifth birthday, prompted Gossips to recall when Beatrix, then twenty-one and the Crown Princess of the Netherlands, visited Hudson on September 18, 1959, for the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the Hudson River.

The historic marker in front of this house on Prospect Avenue, across from Cavell House, commemorates the royal visit. In 1959, this was the home of Dr. John L. Edwards--for whom the school was named--and it was here that the princess and her entourage came first, upon arriving in Hudson, to be received by the committee that had planned the "Columbia County and Hudson City Hudson-Champlain Celebration" that was the culmination of the "Year of History." From here, Princess Beatrix proceeded to Park Place, where she reviewed what was probably the biggest parade in Hudson's history.

The following is the account of the visit that appeared in the Chatham Courier.

Princess Captures Hearts of Thousands

Smiling Beatrix Gives Columbia a Dutch Treat

Columbia Country received a real Dutch treat Friday afternoon when Her Royal Highness Beatrix, Princess of the Netherlands, reviewed a parade in her honor staged by the Columbia County and Hudson City Hudson-Champlain Celebration committees as a climax to the "Year of History."

Rain clouds, which had brought intermittent showers throughout the morning, cleared just as the Princess and her party arrived at the house of Dr. John L. Edwards in Hudson, some 27 minutes behind schedule.

Accompanying Her Highness was the Netherlands Ambassador in the United States H. J. van Roijen, her Naval aide, Commander W. W. Kuyck, her lady in waiting, Miss C. E. B. Roell, her secretary, Mrs. G. E. Scheulten-Meers, and a motorcade of foreign and American news reporters.

The Princess was greeted by Albert S. Callan, Jr., chairman of the Columbia County celebration, who presented her to a reception committee appointed by Mayor John L. Kelly of Hudson. Mayor Kelly was unable to be present because of illness. He was represented by 
Arthur McEvoy of Hudson, and a member of the Celebration's advisory board. Other committee members included Surrogate and Mrs. William F. Christiana, County Judge and Mrs. William E. J. Connor, Assemblyman and Mrs. Willard C. Drumm, City Judge and Mrs. Robert F. Meyers, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Jay C. Moore and Mrs. Moore, Raymond C. Kennedy, chairman of the Hudson City Committee, and his mother, Mrs. Kennedy, and Mr. and Mrs. Burdell Bixby of Hudson.

Also present were Dr. and Mrs. Henry Noerling of Valatie, Miss Elizabeth Dillenbeck, Dr. Edwards' niece, and Mrs. C. Davie Lloyd of Lee, Mass., a former Kinderhook resident, with whom Queen Juliana and Princess Beatrix spent the summer of 1942 when the royal family fled Holland following the German invasion.

Following the brief reception, the Princess went directly to a reviewing stand at Park Place where a crowd of 3,000 cheered as she took the place of honor surrounded by county officials and members of her party.

Hudson had the best glimpse of the dimpled princess of any of the river communities including New York and Albany. While she had only made brief public appearances in her upriver trip, at Hudson she sat patiently for an hour and a half while hundreds of cameras, handled by amateurs and professionals, were held only a few feet away from the photogenic young woman. The Princess evidently enjoyed the photo taking, but security officers finally shooed the cameramen away.

The official party missed the first division of the parade because of their tardy arrival but were in time to see the second, third, and fourth divisions and all of the 43 floats in the order of march.

The Princess was particularly impressed with some of the vintage American automobiles which she saw for the first time, the highly polished fire engines and the 4-H float entries. She is honorary president of a Dutch organization similar to 4-H.

While 20,000 persons jammed Hudson's streets to witness the largest parade in the county's history, the attention of those in the vicinity of Park Place was focused on the Princess who wore a grey faille suit, a velvet forward (sic) beret in brown and grey paisley print and matching belt. A mink stole covered her shoulders but a borrowed cashmere coat was draped about her knees in the brisk 52 degree afternoon weather.

During a brief break in the parade, Mrs. Henry J. Noerling of Valatie, a member of the committee's advisory board, presented the Princess a diamond-shaped star crystal paperweight of Steuben Glass. The engraving made especially for the Columbia County committee and approved by Netherlands authorities, was a lion rampant of the House of Orange, the initial "B" and the date September 18, 1959.

In making the presentation, Mrs. Noerling said, "It was 350 years ago today that Henry Hudson, for whom this city is named, planted the flag of the Dutch East India Company on what was to become the soil of Columbia County. We present this gift as a token of our warm affection for you and with the sincere hope it will always be a pleasant reminder of this historic date of your visit to our countryside."

At 3:25 to the shouts of "Goodbye Princess" the Royal party drove down Warren Street toward the Hudson Power Boat Assoc. dock where she was to board the yacht "Dauntless" for her trip to Albany. Along the way, there were a number of greetings in the Dutch language which the Princess acknowledged in Dutch. A small cheering section of four boys came up to her car and to the amazement of security officers yelled in unison--"Rah-rah-rah Beatrix!"

At the dock area which was bedecked with flags another 400 persons applauded the royal visitor. Riding majestically in mid-stream was the destroyer U.S.S. Strong and a Coast Guard cutter.

At 3:45 the Dauntless cast off and in the fading afternoon sunlight moved upriver escorted by the larger vessels. The rain which had ended just before the Princess' arrival began again but by this time the big party was over.

The photograph of Queen Beatrix is by Marcel Antonisse/EPA and appeared in The Guardian.


  1. What a wonderful commemoration of Hudson history. Do we know anything more about Dr. John L. Edwards and why a school would be named after him?

  2. Joan Davidson asked me to share this comment:

    Carole, I loved reading your fine long piece about Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. It reminded me of the wonderful trip to Amsterdam that I was privileged to undertake in 2009, when I was chair of the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, as guest of the Dutch Government. Among the dinners, site visits, and conferences that were laid on, the jolliest event for our small group was the tulip festival in the public garden, followed by a chance to meet Queen Beatrix. When my turn came, she told me that she loved New York and fondly remembered her happy time in Hudson. Joan

  3. He was John Kerry's running mate.

  4. David Voorhees shared this comment:

    On April 23, 1982, my mother and I had the great honor of being invited to attend a reception for Queen Beatrix at St. Mark's in the Bowery in Manhattan. I was a member of an honorary guard, dressed in a seventeenth-century uniform wearing a helmet and with halbard. I was awkward and nervous, but Prince Claus made every effort to make me feel comfortable. When I looked for my mother, I was surprised to find her chatting away and laughing with the Queen as they made the rounds of the room together. It would not be my last personal association with the House of Orange-Nassau over the decades, but it is a day that will forever be etched in my memory. Her Royal Majesty has always exhibited pride and interest in the link between the Netherlands and the former Dutch colony in America. Lang leve de Koningin.

  5. Thank you for sharing this, Carole. I've always wondered about the "Princess Beatrix house" and what the story behind it was.