I came across a quotation in that piqued my interest.
I can't understand it. I can't even understand the people who can understand it.
— Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
I'd like to know the context of this quote. What was she talking about? Was it in a personal interview? A written memoir? Is it a translation from, say, Dutch? Is there, in fact, any serious evidence she said or wrote such a thing?
What I've found so far
The earliest mention I can find of the quote is from 1987. Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated in 1980, age 71, but the quotation is attributed to "Queen" which suggests that the utterance occurred while she was still on the throne.
The influential Unix fortune cookie program, and the databases that accompanied it, have been particularly popular among the science and technology crowd, although the topics of the quotes are certainly not restricted to those topics.
The quote in question appears to have entered the Unix fortune cookie database around somewhere between 1988 and 1995. Specifically, it was not in Berkeley Unix BSD4.3 (1988) but was in BSD4.4 (1995). I also found evidence that the quote was being passed around online as far back as 1987. The filename was different then, but the wording and punctuation seem to be an exact match for the modern version.
It seems to have originated from the same Berkeley sources that would later become BSD4.4. The first part of that 1987 archive begins with a note:
[This is the latest and most uptodate version of Ken Arnold/ Berkeley's fortune program and data base. Thanks to Ken Arnold for sending this to me. -br]
Another quotation database, QuotationsPage.com, contains an entry for this quote. The site describes Michael Moncur's (Cynical) Quotations, the relevant collection as "a collection of quotes which I (Michael) have been adding to since 1985."
Outside quote databases
The most formal reference I've found is an essay in a 1988 policy advice book (Schmitt, p. 309). In this case the quote is said to be spoken, and also specifically about computers.
... many politicians ... undoubtedly feel sympathy for Queen Juliana of Holland, who was heard to exclaim, "I don't understand computers. I don't even understand the people who understand computers."
I don't speak Dutch, but I wonder if I might have more luck searching Dutch books and newspapers for reports of Juliana alongside words like begrijp and mensen (which apparently mean 'understand' and 'people', respectively).
Then again, I'm not used to historical research, so it's possible I've missed an obvious approach.
Help me, History.SE! What did Juliana not understand?
Schmitt, R. W. (1988). Federal policies for academic research. In Golden, William T. (Ed.), Science and Technology Advice to the President, Congress, and Judiciary. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press. [Google books]