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The Dutch monarchy _ some facts and quirks
But the most serious scandals they faced arose from their marriages. That’s not because the character of any spouse was in question, but rather because of his or her family background.
Beatrix’s marriage to her husband Prince Claus was initially resisted by the Dutch public, with many residents upset about his service with the Nazi army in World War II and membership in the Hitler Youth. He served in Italy near the end of the fighting and was quickly taken prisoner. As royal consort, he eventually became popular for his quiet, modest and honest nature.
Princess Maxima’s father, meanwhile, was Agriculture Minister in Argentina in the murderous Videla regime of the late 1970s. Out of diplomatic considerations, her family won’t be attending when she is sworn in as queen and Willem-Alexander is inaugurated as king on April 30.
“SWORN IN”? “INAUGURATED”? I THINK THE WORD YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS “CROWNED.”
Nope. Willem-Alexander won’t be getting a crown placed on his head, or become overlord of all Dutch people. This goes back to the difference between the Dutch and British royal houses. The Dutch monarchy is not just more modern in viewing the kingship as more of a profession than a perhaps divinely ordained role, it’s literally more modern. It was founded after the American Revolutionary War, and, more importantly in European terms, after the French Revolution. Dutch monarchs are inaugurated at a meeting of the upper and lower houses of the Dutch Parliament, where they promise to serve and uphold the country’s constitution.
As a commoner, you are still supposed to address the monarch as “your highness,” though, if you happen to bump into him or her at a cocktail party. It’s protocol.
WILL THERE BE A PARTY TO USHER IN THE CHANGES? AND WHO GETS TO GO?
Most definitely. And everyone.
April 30, Queen’s Day, rivals New Year’s Eve as the biggest bash of the year in the Netherlands. There hasn’t been a king on the Dutch throne in more than 100 years, but this year’s celebration will probably be the last Queen’s Day until one of Willem-Alexander’s daughters _ presumably the oldest, Catharina-Amalia _ someday replaces him.
But next year there will be a King’s Day at around the same time.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said Queen Beatrix doesn’t think it’s appropriate that she receive a big going-away gift or that an excessive amount of money be spent on the celebration, given that the Dutch economy is in a weak patch. But _ this party being held in Amsterdam, which has a reputation to uphold _ he said it wouldn’t be a sober affair either, where all they serve is “a little glass of fruit juice.”
By Donald Lambro
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