King Willem-Alexander: Facial Hair, and Big Hats
February 8th, 2013 by Alisa
After reaching fever pitch the day after Queen Beatrix's abdication announcement, Dutch Royal Fever seems to have faded into pretty much oblivion. As a country, we now seem to be at the point where the media is digging hard to find facts that would once again get the public interested in the upcoming abdica/inaugura-tion (it's basically a two for one deal). Such indifference speaks volumes about both the Dutch public and the Dutch media. Both have taken these seemingly earth-shattering announcements relatively in their stride... While the media is not fishing for scandal (or if they are, the catch has been extremely lackluster), the public are down to earth about the role of royals in their society. It boils down to the fact that (at least from the outsider's perspective) Dutch royals aren't celebrities... they're just the royals.
One cannot help but imagine how a similar announcement would have gone down if it had been the British royal family... I'm thinking complete chaos. There was a media storm when the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted at a Starbucks, and the English-speaking world basically stood still for her wedding to Prince William. If Her Maj decided to retire and hand over the reigns to Charles, nothing else would be published in the papers for weeks. I have to say, I prefer the Dutch attitude to their royal family. There's a a sense of integrity about the whole thing. THAT SAID, look at all the cool stuff that is being written about the king-to-be!
Apparently a new Dutch Facebook page has sprung up campaigning for "No King Without a Beard" ('Zonder baard, geen koning'). Because King W-A will be the first Dutch king since 1890, he will also be the first Dutch king without a beard if he doesn't bite the bullet and grow one soon. This seems unfair for several reasons, not the least of which being what if he just can't grow a good beard?? There are, however, no worries that he wouldn't look good with one since photoshop and people with lots of time on their hands have proven otherwise. Once the page has 100,000 likes, its creators will present the Netherlands Government Information Service with an official request for the Dutch monarch to grow a beard. So, good luck to those guys!
In other news, much is also being written about the fact that Dutch monarchs are not coronated - they are inaugurated. Apparently even most of Queen Beatrix's subjects weren't aware of the difference, since this is making local news. And yes, apparently there is a difference. Dutch kings and queens are inaugurated because in the Netherlands the people confer the right to rule, not God. The right to rule is not considered a divine right because the land the monarchs govern is considered to have been built by people not God (which makes sense because in some parts of the Netherlands this is LITERALLY the case). As with many royal traditions, this one is based in religion: at some point in history the ruling Protestant government disagreed with the idea of a coronation, deeming it too Catholic. They are equally grandiose though, thank heavens!
Other interesting tidbits include the fact that although Princess Máxima’s family will not be present because her dad is basically a war lord, she will be crowned Queen despite her commoner birth, giving hope to the rest of us. New euro coins will have King W-A's portrait on them, although the old ones with Queen Beatrix will still be valid. The King and his Queen will move to a royal palace in the Hague, while Queen Beatrix will move back to her bachelor pad in Castle Drakensteyn. There has also been a rush to snap up royal domain names by the public, so the Netherlands Government Information Service may need to take people through the courts to get them back which will be fun to observe. Nevertheless, aside from those buying up king-related domain names, most Dutchies aren't planning on spending more on Queen's Day and Inauguration celebrations this year than usual. According to this article only 8% of the population plan to spend more money than they would on any normal Queen's Day.
Also, if you are invited to the inauguration and are a lady, don't wear a large hat.
© 2013, Amsterdam City Tours Blog. All rights reserved. On republishing any part of this post, you must provide a link back to this original post