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Princess Beatrix: The hidden Alzheimer's drama

Queen Beatrix is ​​now "Princess" Beatrix.
Photo: Getty Images

Shock after the coronation ...

The fear of the royal family before the terrible diagnosis.

What a grandiose celebration for the coronation! Glorious and at the same time so familiar. The royal family touched the whole world with their intimate familiarity. Again and again Máxima (41) held her mother-in-law's Beatrix (75), looking into her eyes.

And in spite of all the joy, the looks of the women seemed to be of concern. Máxima knows what Beatrix may have thought of that day ...

Memories of the ex-Queen to her mother Juliana († 94), who was always so happy and happy about her "retirement" when she abdicated in 1980. But her new life was quickly overshadowed: Juliana was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. For years, the royal family has hidden this drama behind the palace walls.

Before the curtain of oblivion sank completely over her mind, Juliana, on her 90th birthday, said goodbye in a heartfelt letter from her people. She did not want anyone to see her as an old woman and with a lost look. But only after her death in 2004, the royal house confirmed the serious illness.

Is Beatrix afraid of a similar fate? Like any person who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer's, the ex-monarch lives in great anxiety as to whether and when the malicious illness breaks out. Because the doctors warn: People whose family members are suffering from dementia are themselves above average prone to it.

In any case, Princess Beatrix made sure that her old residence Schloss Drakensteyn was completely remodeled in line with age: widened doors, stairlift, special shower and baths. And in an interview, she recently said honestly, "I do not want to be a burden on my kids ..."