Dutch flock to royal garage sale

Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:23am EDT
 
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - A rare snapshot into the lives of the Dutch royal family has been drawing big crowds.

Queen Juliana's estate, including the contents of several royal residences in the Netherlands, is being auctioned by Sotheby's for charity this week in Amsterdam.

Described as "property from the stores and attics" of several royal residences, it ranges from the surprisingly mundane such as the queen's well-worn garden furniture and her cheese slicers, to the luxurious, such as crystalware, silver hairbrushes and enormous wardrobes built for a high-ceilinged palace.

One of the highlights is a Doccia Ginori porcelain dinner service dating from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The set includes at least 142 plates and has a reserve price of 40,000-60,000 euros.

Queen Juliana, who died in 2004, ruled from 1948 to 1980 when she abdicated in favor of her daughter, Queen Beatrix.

The objects on display at Sotheby's showroom in Amsterdam attracted plenty of viewers who wanted a peek at how the royals live or lived.

"I'm not interested in buying, but I've come because this is the queen of my country, so it's interesting to see what they don't need any more," said one woman.

"For example I saw an armchair -- it's very old and completely ruined and I think that's interesting. I like that, it shows they used it."

The auction runs from March 14 to March 17.

(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>Netherlands' Princess Laurentien (L-R), Prince Constantijn, Crown Princess Maxima, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Queen Beatrix, Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven wave to well-wishers from the balcony of the Royal Noordeinde Palace after the opening of the new parliamentary year in The Hague September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen</p>