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Re: Prince Bernhard's Nazi membership card found
The days that royalty thrived - when they could get away with pretty much everything - are long gone. These poor people have an exceptional position in a egalitarian society and have to live a life in a glass house with the vultures swarming outside. Every step is scrutinised, every word is caught and publicly weighed. And on top of that we take today's moral codes and retro-actively pass scathing judgements.
Bernhard was an exceptional man in exceptional times. Many royal and aristocratic men of his generation lived quite outlandish lives. He wasn't alone. How many people still have affairs, father children with other women. Plenty. How many people choose a partner at least partly based on the fact that they can provide a secure future. Be honest. Many! At least he wasn't boring and lived his life to the fullest. He had fun and it was a hell of a rride. God Bless him! Marrying Juliana was the opportunity of a lifetime. He seized it. Yes he made mistakes, yes he had some major flaws. Who hasn't.
We are all a mix of good and evil, but public figures and persons elevated to “positions of trust” are naturally expected to maintain higher standards. It is easier for people who misbehave in the first half of a long life to eventually recover their reputation and good name if they go on to become respectable and honorable people in later life. All of these men did some good, but the shadows that loom over the legacies of Bernhard, Vittorio Emanuele, and Juan Carlos are chiefly due to serious wrong-doings committed in the latter years of their lives-- not the mistakes and follies of their younger days.