Royal Profile: The Dutch Royal Family
The House of Orange-Nassau
King Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau
HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange
Members of the Royal House
King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, The Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia, Princess Ariane, Prince Constantijn (the youngest son of Queen Beatrix), Princess Laurentien (Constantijn’s wife), Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven (the Queen’s sister and her husband)
Lineal primogeniture (eldest child, regardless of gender) adopted in 1983. Those in the line of succession lose their right to the throne if they marry without Parliamentary approval. In 1922 the line of succession was limited to three degrees of kinship from the monarch.
The history of the Dutch monarchy leads down many winding paths. The brief highlights being that in the 16th century the House of Orange-Nassau was created when Count Hendrik III of the Low Country province Nassau and Claudia de Chalon, a Burgundian noblewoman whose territories included Orange. In 1688, the English parliament invited the then Dutch ruler, or stadholder, William of Orange, to rule England as William III.
The last Dutch stadholder, Prince Willem V, fled to England in 1795 as his lands were invaded by the French. They remained part of the French Republic/ Napoleonic Empire, until 1815, when Prince Willem V’s son established the kingdom of the Netherlands.
His grandson, William III, was the kingdom’s last male ruler before present day. When he died in 1890, his wife, Emma, became regent for nine years, until their daughter Wilhelmina was old enough. Her 50-year rule saw the country through both World Wars, she was well-loved, both at home and abroad. In addition, she began 100 years of female monarchs in the Netherlands. Her daughter Juliana and granddaughter Beatrix continued that tradition, as well as the tradition of stepping aside for the next generation. Queen Beatrix abdicated on April 30, 2013 in favor of her eldest son. On that day her title reverted to being HRH Princess Beatrix.
Beatrix created controversy in her 1966 marriage to Prince Claus, who was born in Germany and was a member of the Hitler Youth and associated with German Nazism. The wedding was widely protested. However, as time passed he became loved by the Dutch people and his death was mourned throughout the country. They have three sons Willem-Alexander, Friso, and Constantijn. Prince Friso, who is not in the line of succession, was injured by an avalanche while skiing in Austria in early 2012. The injuries forced him to slip into a coma in which he has remained ever since. Due to his condition he stays in a facility in London close to his wife and children.
King Willem-Alexander is the first male monarch in the Netherlands in over 100 years. The break from history will be relatively brief though, as the King and his wife Queen Máxima have three daughters.
- Queen Máxima’s father had been the Minister of Agriculture during the regime of former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who ruled from 1976 to 1981 and who was responsible for many atrocities against civilians. As a compromise to help achieve Parliamentary approval, her father did not attend their wedding.
- Queen Máxima was the first royal to attend an LGBT rights conference. The Queen, then Princess, signed an accord at the end of the conference calling for the full acceptance of gays in The Netherlands. “The Princess is in favor of equal rights of all groups in the Netherlands,” her spokesperson said.
- When Willem-Alexander took the throne, his two cousins Princes Maurits and Bernhard were removed from the line of succession.
TM The King and Queen
HM King Willem-Alexander took the throne on April 30, 2013 after the abdication of his mother. At 47 years of age, he became the youngest monarch in Europe.
Wedding of Willem-Alexander and Maxima
The couple married on February 2, 2002 after getting permission from the Dutch Parliament. There was controversy due to Maxima’s father having worked as Agriculture Minister during the Dirty War. He denied any knowledge but as a compromise he did not attend the wedding.
Maxima spoke to the nation during the engagement interview in Dutch, thus starting the love affair between the two. Queen Maxima is extremely popular due to her outgoing and fun personality.
Princess Catharina-Amalia is born
On December 7, 2003 HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia was born. Under Dutch succession law she would follow her father on the throne of The Netherlands. On April 30, 2013 she became HRH Princess of Orange, carrying the title of the heir as her father took the throne.
TM King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima made an agreement with the press in 2005 that photos would always be allowed at official events but when the family is on private vacations, photo ops would be arranged. Other photos of the family on their private time would not be permitted.
Therefore portraits such as these are done a few times a year and always offer some time with the family and usually some comments and light hearted moments.
“Triple A Rating”
The King and Queen have three daughters Princesses Amalia, Alexia, and Ariana. The King joked recently that they gave their daughters all names that start with “A” to have a “triple A rating”.
HRH Princess Beatrix was Queen of the Netherlands from April 30, 1980 – April 30, 2013. She carried on the tradition of abdication set by her mother and grandmother.
Prince Friso and Princess Mabel
HRH Prince Friso announced in 2003 his intention to marry his girlfriend Mabel Wisse Smit. He did not seek Dutch Parliament’s approval to marry because it was likely the permission would not be granted. Mabel had admitted that her previous statements about an alleged relationship with a known drug deal had not been complete and accurate. Because of his position in the line of succession, it was not deemed worth it to prolong the controversy.
Prince Friso’s accident
On February 17, 2012 Prince Friso was hit by an avalanche in while skiing in Lech, Austria. His injuries were life threatening and left him in a coma he may never awaken from. In March the Prince was transferred to London for further treatment and care in Wellington Hospital. He has remained there ever since, close to his wife and daughters. In May 2012, Princess Mabel resigned from her job to devote herself to taking care of Prince Friso.
HRH Princess Margriet is a member of the Royal House. She is the third of four daughters of the late Queen Juliana. The Princess is a working member of the royal family. She has four sons with her husband Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven.
HH Prince Floris of Orange-Nassau,van Vollenhoven and HH Princess Aimee of Orange-Nassau,van Vollenhoven. Prince Floris son of Princess Margriet and cousin of the King. He is present at major family events and at King’s day.
The van Vollenhoven’s
HH Prince Maurits, Prince Pieter-Christiaan, and Prince Bernhard of Orange-Nassau,van Vollenhoven. The three are sons of Princess Margriet and cousins of the King. They are present at major family events and at King’s day.