Friday, April 27, 2018

Royal Profile: King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands

Prince Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand of The Netherlands, now known as King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands was born on 27 April 1967, the first child of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of The Netherlands {Source}. He was baptized on 2 September 1967, with the following as his godparents {Source}:
  1. Prince Bernhard (maternal grandfather)
  2. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
  3. Ferdinand von Bismarck
  4. Prime Minister Jelle Zijlstra
  5. Ms Renée Smith-Roëll
He has two brothers, two sisters-in-law, four nieces and a nephew:
  1. Prince Friso of Oranje-Nassau (1968-2013)
    1. Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau (1968)
      1. Countess Luana van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouw van Amsberg (2005)
      2. Countess Zaria van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouw van Amsberg (2006)
  2. Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands (1969)
    1. Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands (1966)
      1. Countess Eloise van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (2002)
      2. Count Claus-Casimir van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg (2004)
      3. Countess Leonore van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (2006)

Alongside his two brothers, he grew up in his family's residence of Drakensteyn Castle {Source}. When his grandmother, Queen Julianna, abdicated in favor of his mother in 1980, he and his family moved to Huis ten Bosch Palace {Source}. The future Dutch monarch was primarily educated in The Netherlands and Wales, and did graduate studies in the United States{Source}. He began his primary education at the Nieuwe Baarnse School, before attended Baarns Lyceum{Source}. He obtained an International Baccalaureate from Atlantic College in Wales in 1985{Source}. Upon graduation, the future monarch began a career in the military, where he served in the Royal Netherlands Navy from August 1985 to January 1987, where he received training at the Royal Netherlands Naval College and served on the board of the frigates HNLMS Tromp and HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen{Source}. In 1988, after a refersher course at the Naval Academy, he began serving as a duty officer aboard the frgate HNLMS Van Kinsbergen {Source}. Upon completion of his service in the military, he began studying history at Lieden University, where he was awarded a bachelors degree in history in 1993 {Source}. After graduation, he returned to the military, this time with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, where he gained a Military Pilot's license in the Royal Netherlands Air Force{Source}. In 1994, Prince Willem-Alexander spent several months studying aspects of the Royal Netherlands Army and Air Force at the Netherlands Defense College {Source}. Upon completing his military studies, he began a course to familiarize himself with every facet of Dutch Society, studying the constitutional and legal systems, learning how central government and other authorities function, visiting European institutions, Dutch ministries, and High Councils of State, Dutch business community aspects, before undertaking a program of Advanced Development at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the USA{Source}. Before succeeding his mother in 2013, he held a number of specific positions in a wide range of areas which reflected his commitment to Dutch society {Source}. His main interests have included water management, infrastructure and ICT, sport and defense {Source}. During his time as Prince of Orange, he became a member of the Council of State upon his 18th birthday in April 1985 {Source}. Upon his accession to the throne, he automatically became President of the Council of State {Source}. During the time prior to his investiture, he was a member of several boards, including {Source}:
  1. De Nederlandsche Bank(the Dutch central bank) (1998-2010)
  2. Kröller-Müller Museum(1999-2010)
  3. Chair of the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust(2002-2013)
  4. Representative of the Royal Family on the management board of the Royal Domains (2002-2013)
In March 2001, his parents announced the engagement of The Prince of Orange to Argentine Maxima Zorreguieta, which was subsequently approved by the government in July 2001 {Source}. The marriage took place in February 2002 {Source}. Together, they have three daughters {Source}:
  1. Princess Catharina-Amalia of Oranje (2003)
  2. Princess Alexia of The Netherlands (2005)
  3. Princess Ariane of The Netherlands (2007)
He is a godfather to:
  1. Countess Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg (2006) (his niece)
  2. Princess Estelle Siliva Ewa Mary of Sweden, The Duchess of Östergötland (daughter of a close family friend)
  3. Princess Zita Clara of Bourbon-Parma (2014) (his cousin's daughter)
  4. Carlos Enrique Leonard, Hereditary Prince of Parma (2016) (his cousin's son)

He speaks fluent Dutch, English, German and some Spanish {Source} When he first met his wife, she was unaware that he was a prince, as he had introduced himself as simply, Alexander{Source}. Apparently, when the future Dutch king confessed that he was a prince, she thought he was joking{Source}! After their initial meeting, they agreed to meet again in New York City, where she was working at the time{Source}. While they were dating, Maxima didn't tell her family much-a few things here, a few things there, until there was nothing left to say but "oh, by the way, he's a Prince of The Netherlands and heir to the throne."{Source}. Their relationship and eventual marriage plans were not met without controversy due to her father's involvement with the Argentine government. However, this was nothing new for the Dutch government-his mother, her mother and her mother all had controversial marriages. Thus, when she and her prince married in Amsterdam on 2 February 2002, her parents were not among the guests. However, her parents did attend the christening of their granddaughters. They were not allowed at the wedding due to it being an official state occasion, while the christenings were considered private. He is the first Dutch monarch to be King since King William III, who reigned from 1849-1890. Monarchs after him were all women-Queen Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix...the Dutch king's great grandmotehr, grandmother, and mother respectively. He drank a lot of beer, earning himself the nickname ‘Prins Pils’ {Source} He once drove his car into a canal in Leiden{Source} For his 50th birthday, he and his family will dine with 150 guest who also share a birthday with King Williem-Alexander{Source}. He became King of The Netherlands three days after his birthday in 2013. In an attempt to strike a balance between privacy for the royal family and availability to the press, the Netherlands Government Information Service (RVD) instituted a media code on 21 June 2005 which essentially states that:
  1. Photographs of the members of the royal house while performing their duties are always permitted.
  2. For other occasions (like holidays or vacations), the RVD will arrange a photo-op on condition that the press leave the family alone for the rest of the activity.

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