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Re: Prince Bernhard's Nazi membership card found
Wonderfully said, thank you!
Im not sure why people respond in this way. As you said the fact that he was a member had been known for decades. That he was an opportunist is certainly true, he simply applied for the position of Juliana's consort. In the mid 1930's many if not most descendants of the former reigning dynasties within Germany were party members. It may have been one of the reasons why Wilhelmina had a preference for a non-German son-in-law but her attempts to match her daughter with a suitable Swedish or Greek prince failed.
By the time Bernard showed up they were getting a bit desperate.
I think Annejet van der Zijl's biography on him is really good. Her conclusion that if you invite someone to play the role of Prince Charming you should not be surprised that after decades in that role he starts to believe in fairytales himself.
You are also correct that Bernard probably never believed or adhered to the Nazi philosophy and he did do a lot of good. Unfortunately most of the people he helped are no longer around to keep that part of his memory alive. We should not forget that without him Juliana might very well have been the last Orange-Nassau. The fact that the great court rituals like the reception of ambassadors and Prinsjesdag still exist in their current form is the result of his conviction that monarchy needs a certain level of pomp. Both Beatrix and Margriet have expressed their gratitude about being taken from the school their mother selected to receive a more knowledge based education.
He was one of the founding members of the world wildlife fund and was for years the only person many Dutch veterans could call upon to help them. For years he travelled the globe asked by the Dutch government to bring in as much business opportunities as he could. They gave him money and high Dutch orders to achieve this but never gave him the legal boundaries they expected him to stay within. Unlike Claus Bernhard had no diplomatic and legal training so overstepped what others felt were lines regularly in order to achieve the desired goal.
To me Bernard is a contradiction, the man who helped the House of Orange survive and thrive is also the person responsible for the biggest threats to it's survival.
At this stage it looks like he'll be remembered as the crook. The villain who cheated on his wife and tried to make money for himself. This NSDAP membership card fits in that scenario. That he also did considerable amounts of good is swept under the carpet or simply ignored. In that the haters of him copy the behaviour they accused his fans of by concentrating on one side of the man instead of looking at the whole picture.