Youth and education

Princess Juliana was born in The Hague on 30 April 1909, the daughter of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik. She spent her childhood at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, and at Noordeinde Palace and Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague.

A small class was formed at Huis ten Bosch Palace on the advice of the educationalist Jan Ligthart so that, from the age of six, the Princess could receive her primary education with children of her own age.

As the Constitution specified that she was to be ready to succeed to the throne by the age of eighteen, Princess Juliana's education proceeded at a faster pace than that of most children. After five years of primary education, the Princess received her secondary education (to pre-university level) from private tutors. On 30 April 1927 Princess Juliana celebrated her eighteenth birthday. Under the Constitution, she had officially come of age and was entitled to assume the royal prerogative, if necessary. Two days later her mother installed her in the Council of State.

From 1927 to 1930 the Princess attended lectures at Leiden University. During this time she lived with a number of other women students in Katwijk. She chose her subjects partly to prepare her for her duties as Head of State, and partly to satisfy her personal interest in literature and religion. She joined the Women Students' Association and took an active part in a wide range of undergraduate activities. Her studies were crowned with the award of an honorary doctorate in literature and philosophy, her sponsor being the renowned historian Johan Huizinga.

During the Depression of the early 1930s, the Princess mainly turned her attention to social issues. It was partly on her initiative that the National Crisis Committee was established to assist the many victims of the economic crisis. She was the Committee's highly active honorary chair. On the death of her father, Prince Hendrik, in 1934, she succeeded him as President of the Netherlands Red Cross.