The Queen Is Retired, Long Live the King

Well, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated yesterday, and Willem-Alexander is king. I don’t care for the monarchy, but it doesn’t have any powers and the queen’s birthday is always the biggest party of the year, and who doesn’t like a party?

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Every year, on April 30th, every town has old-fashion games and in Amsterdam it’s one huge flea market where every0ne can sell their stuff on the sidewalks. People dress up in orange, the national color, and there’s lots of live music. Kids make money selling toys they’ve outgrown, or candy and cupcakes, or showing off their gymnastics stunts with friends. Yesterday was no different.

The abdication and coronation consisted of the queen signing off and the king and his queen consort Maxima signing on. Unlike Queen Elizabeth, Beatrix doesn’t mind being touched. Check out the first video on this page to see how she not only shakes everyone’s hands, but goes around the room to do so, instead of standing somewhere and having people walk past her and shake her hand.

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Then Beatrix, Willem-Alexander and Maxima went out on the balcony and waved. Other monarchs were invited, and a group picture was taken. And there was a water parade.

Seventeen people were arrested in Amsterdam for disorderly conduct. Two people were wrongfully arrested. The mayor apologized to them and said they would both be getting a big bunch of flowers.

T laughed when he heard that, and pointed out that in New York the mayor would be pissed at the police, the police would be pissed at the mayor, nobody would be apologizing to anyone, and lawyers would be lining up to sue the city on behalf of the arrested parties.

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I hadn’t kept up with Prince Willem-Alexander. I read on Stuff Dutch People Like a while ago that he picks his nose in public, and his and Prince William of Britain’s weddings must’ve merged in my mind, because how on earth does Holland suddenly have three little princesses? And what the hell were they wearing? Anyway, Amalia is now crown princess.

By all accounts, apart from some clueless PR blunders, W seems to have his heart in the right place. His thing is fresh water for developing countries, and he has been known to smash toilets to smithereens for fundraisers. His wife Maxima is hosting a European conference about gay marriage next week, to see how many more decades everyone is going to wait before following the Netherlands’ example.

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W-A has said that he doesn’t want to be called his majesty, and that people can call him whatever they’re comfortable with. That’s a good thing.  I, for one, might not be able to keep a straight face calling someone his majesty who picks his nose at soccer games. But hey, what’s important is that he’s the new excuse for the biggest annual party anywhere, and his birthday is only a few days earlier in April, when the chance of nice weather is pretty good.  So long live the king!

8 responses to “The Queen Is Retired, Long Live the King

  1. Marie-Jacqueline

    Did you watch some of the festivities on television?
    Maybe it wasn’t possible for you!
    Not a big issue in the US of course.
    They focus more on British royalty.

    Outside you could hardly see someone on the street where I live, certainly during the broadcast of the official celebrations.

    Abdication is correct, but maybe you did forget over the years that we don’t have a coronation; we have an investiture.
    (Couldn’t help myself to correct this)

    So Princess Beatrix, a good retirement!
    King Willem-Alexander (have to get used to that) a good reign!


    • Investiture? No, I don’t remember that. Is that why he didn’t wear the crown? I must look it up to see what the difference is. No, I dodn’t see it on TV, but I watched some video by the NRC and the NOS.


  2. Looks like quite the celebration . . . will all manner of pomp and circumstance. 😀


  3. The flea market isn’t just in Amsterdam. 🙂

    I’m generally ambivalent about the Dutch monarchy; they seem better in some ways than the British, but the general existence of a monarchy in this day and age seems silly. That said, it was definitely interesting watching the various events. Not something you get to see every day!


    • I’m ambivalent, too. It is silly, but by now it’s more just an excuse for a party. And like they say, it does open doors, to have someone who has a certain status without being political. Kind of Like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter over here. Only paid for by taxes.


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