Bernhard was the grandfather of the reigning King, Willem-Alexander, and he died in 2004. He was married to Queen Juliana who sat on the throne from 1948 until 1980 when she abdicated. The royal couple had four children; Princess Beatrix, who went on to inherit the throne; Princess Irene; Princess Margriet; and Princess Christina. All of them were born between 1938 and 1947.
Yet, the BBC ‘Witness History’ programme revealed earlier this month how the royal actually chose to confirm the birth of two more children, outside of marriage, before his death.
BBC journalist Mike Lanchin pointed out that the marriage between the former Queen and her consort “was always beset with rumours of his other love affairs”.
Jan Tromp was one of two journalists who Bernhard chose to confide in in a series of interviews over four years.
Mr Tromp told the BBC that the royal confirmed the birth of the first illegitimate child, and Bernhard claimed his wife “understood and accepted fully”.
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
Bernhard was Prince consort to Queen Juliana, who abdicated in 1980
The journalist added: “At that very sentimental moment, it was remarkable. He used the word ‘mummy’.”
He said he and his colleague did challenge the royal on the “morality” of his affairs and extramarital children, but that Bernhard did not see any issues with what he had done.
Mr Lanchin commented: “The Prince’s self-belief and arrogance was almost unshakeable.”
Recalling his conversations with Bernhard, Mr Tromp continued: “He said, ‘Don’t you know, you silly ones, that I have a second extramarital daughter?’
“He started to talk about an American woman who gave him another daughter.”
Bernhard with two of his legitimate daughters — on the right is Princess Beatrix, who succeeded her mother to become Queen
This was a sensational moment, as nothing had been reported on this second child at the time.
Mr Tromp explained: “It was extremely important to him to let people know that he didn’t have four daughters, he had six.
“Within that enormous ego, at certain moments, he said: ‘People may say I was a scam, but people should not think I was a no-good.’”
However, the royal said nothing could be published until after his death.
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The Dutch royal family in 1976 – Bernhard can be seen on the far left
Bernhard had four daughters by Juliana and two outside of marriage
It is believed that Bernhard’s first illegitimate daughter is Alicia von Bielefield, who was born in 1952 – her mother remains anonymous.
The second illegitimate daughter is called Alexia Grinda. She was born in 1967 to Helene Grinda, a French model and socialite.
Bernhard also had a handful of other controversies during his time in the public gaze.
For instance, although he became a Dutch citizen upon his marriage in 1937, German-born Bernhard was a member of the SS and the Nazi Party prior to World War 2.
Beatrix with her parents — Bernhard did not reveal he had two more daughters until just before his death in 2004
However, when the war broke out, he organised his palace guards to shoot at the invading German war planes before he and his family fled to the UK.
He later came under scrutiny for accepting a bribe of $1million (£800,000) from an American aircraft manufacturer.
However, Bernhard was a popular figure during his lifetime, and Queen Elizabeth II even made him an Honorary Air Marshal of the RAF following his wartime efforts.