Friday, April 26, 2013

After 123 years, the Land of Orange gets a King

Twas days before the coronation and all through the land, the people made ready with their orange robes at hand. 

Queen Wilhelmina Source: wikipedia
In a few days time, the Netherlands will erupt into a sea of bright orange as part of the annual celebration of Queen's Day (Koninginnedag). This year, things are going to be a little different. Although many people outside of the Netherlands know that there is a constitutional monarch and royal family with a penchant for biking, not as many people are aware that for the past 123 years, the Netherlands has actually had three queens in quick succession.

Since the ascension to the throne of Queen Wilhelmina in 1890, the famed House of Orange-Nassau has been headed by a matriarch. Reigning through two world wars and a dismantling empire, Queen Wilhelmina was  eventually succeeded by her daughter Queen Juliana who ruled from 1948 until 1980 when she abdicated in favour of her eldest daughter Beatrix.
Queen Juliana Source: Royal Correspondent Blog

Queen Beatrix and her late husband German-born Prince Claus of the Netherlands at her coronation in 1980.                Source.

In a surprise announcement in January this year, Queen Beatrix herself announced she would be abdicating in favour of her son, 46 year old Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange.

Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima. Source: UK Times

So aside from the usual merry-making and excessive drinking that comes with the annual Queen's Day celebration, the people of Orange will be bidding farewell to their beloved Queen Beatrix as she retires. They will also be welcoming Prince Willem-Alexander as their king and his popular Argentinean-born wife Maxima as their new queen consort. Does it not appear that Argentinean are doing pretty well for themselves this year when it comes to ascending various throne? Did someone say Messi? Pope Francis?

Novel excitement aside, it is somewhat sad that as a new king is crowned in the Land of Orange, his ascension marks the end of 123 years of women firmly at the helm of affairs at the House of Orange-Nassau.


ReadJerome said...

Barely know anything about the Dutch Monarchy, or their politics in general.

Three queens in succession and reigning for over a century is quite impressive. I wonder why the Queen is deciding to abdicate, it seems to me her position now might seem as awkward as that of the ex-Pope.

Abena Serwaa said...

Hey Jerome, Thanks for stopping by. The queen was very clear that she was not abdicating because she felt she had gotten to an age where she could not fulfill her duties but rather because she felt it was time for a new and younger generation to take over! Very powerful stuff...