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Princess Irene is a daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and her husband Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, and a younger sister of Queen Beatrix. To escape the Nazi invasion of their country in World War II, the royal family took refuge in London, where Irene was christened at Buckingham Palace, and then in Ottawa, Canada. She attended Rockcliffe Park Public School and then studied at the University of Utrecht. She went to Madrid to learn Spanish and became an official interpreter. While studying in Spain, she met Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma, eldest son of a pretender to the Spanish throne. Her conversion to the Roman Catholic faith and marriage to the duke in 1964 caused a constitutional crisis in the Netherlands. The couple had four children before divorcing in 1981. She became a disarmament and nature activist, and has published two books, including Dialogue with Nature (1995).
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