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As I write this today, Saturday, 27 April 2013, HRH The Prince of Orange turns 46 years old. As you are reading this HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has abdicated the throne and Willem-Alexander has now become the King of the Netherlands. He is the Netherlands first King since the death of Willem III on 23 November 1890. That is a span of 123 years. The heir to the throne is now the king’s eldest daughter HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia (born 7 December 2003). I believe the title Prince or Princess of Orange is automatic so she will inherit that title as her father becomes king. I believe she will be, at the age of 9, Europe’s youngest heir to the throne.

The new king is the son of HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (now HRH Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands) and Claus van Amsberg (1926-2002). Willem-Alexander has gone through some big changes in his life. The media once depicted him as a playboy type of prince who loved wine women and song. Today as he mounts the throne of the Netherlands he has become a well-respected family man. This change can be linked to his 2002 marriage to Maxima Zorreguieta from Argentina. She has become a well-loved and respected Princess of Orange and has been a stabilizing presence. The prince and Princess of Orange also have three wonderful daughters that have helped the prince settle down into a responsible family man. With my back ground in psychology all of this seems like usual developmental stages. Most men do mature and settle down in their 30s.

One of the differenced in this new kingship will be the Kings involvement in politics. Beatrix has involved herself in politics. At times she excluded politicians that she did not like. It seems Willem-Alexander will not be as involved with government. His reign is reported to have a more low-key profile and to not be as protocol minded as other Dutch monarchs in the past. It will be interesting to follow him in the future to see how is style of rule actually plays out. The king will still be influential in government but it seems those influences will come through personal relationships with politicians.

I have always thought that the Dutch monarch had more political involvement and influence than other European constitutional monarchies. I have mixed feelings about a lesser involvement with politics. A part of me thinks it is absolutely wise to stay above party politics. I am an American and our political system is ripe with cutthroat political fighting among parties. I really do think a monarch should stay out of that messy business. However, I also love history and I do enjoy reading about those times when monarchs actually held power.

I am sad to see Queen Beatrix go. I think she was a wonderful queen and a model of a good constitutional monarch. I wish her well in the future. I also wish her successor, HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a long and fruitful reign with good health and good times and prosperity for the Netherlands.

Here is a list of other royals that attended today’s innaguration:

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain
Crown Prince Billah and Princess Sarah of Brunei
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan
Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath El Hassan of Jordan
Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
Grand Duke Guillaume and Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg
Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco
Prince Albert II of Monaco
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princees Mette-Marit of Norway
Haitham bin Tareq al Said (Oman)
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Misned (Qatar)
The Prince and Princess of Asturias (Spain)
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (Thailand)
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (Thailand)
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (United Kingdom)
Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al Nahyan (United Arab Emirates)
Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden