Compared to other European countries, Holland is a relatively young monarchy. The kingdom was established back in 1815 and was initially ruled by William the I. The country's current monarchy holds limited power as the ministers of the nation make the political calls. The Dutch royal family is young, educated, and has recently faced much scrutiny.
King Willem-Alexander is the firstborn child of Princess Beatrix and her late husband, Prince Claus. He has ruled as King of the Netherlands since April of 2013.
The King received a royal education as a young boy and later served in the Navy. He attended Rijksuniversiteit Leiden University, where he earned a degree in history. There he also earned the nickname Prince Pils as he enjoyed indulging in more than a bit of drink and ruckus. Following his university days, he also took courses at the Netherlands Defence College and received a military pilot's license.
King Willem wed Princess Máxima Zorreguieta in 2002. They have three daughters together, with their eldest waiting in the wings to take over reign for her father someday. Like several monarchies around the world, the Dutch royal family now allows females born of true royal blood to ascend to the throne, a perceived progressive shift from the archaic, standard male-only perspective. When Willem took over as King, he was the first to do so in over 125 years. After his rule, a female will reign as head yet again.
WIllem is involved in several government-related tasks, including the signing of formal documents, receiving heads of state, making official royal visits around the world, and visiting and supporting the country's people in need. Prior to taking the throne from his mother, he served as a member of the government advisory body SER, sat on the Advisory Board on Water & Sanitation, and served on the Olympic Committee.
Willem has made some questionable calls over this last year, yet he continues to raise his royal family while trying to earn the love and trust of his country and its people.
Prince Willem-Alexander's wife, Queen Máxima was born in Argentina and raised in Buenos Aires. She grew up in the Catholic faith and attended the Catholic University of Argentina, where she earned a degree in economics. She later moved to the United States and lived there from 1995 to 2000. The Queen met her future husband at a party in Sevilla, moving to Brussels one year after meeting him. She became a Dutch citizen in 2001 and married her prince in 2002. She went on to have three daughters with her husband. The union of the King and Queen was somewhat controversial because of Queen Máxima's father's role in the dictatorship of Argentina in the 1970s. Nevertheless, this Queen continues to be the favorite royal amongst the people of her nation.
As Queen, Máxima performs stately duties throughout the year on behalf of her royal house. She serves as a member of the Council of State and represented her family and country at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She has formed a close bond with Princess Charlene of Monaco over the years, as the two women seem to have chosen similar life paths. The progressive Dutch Queen was one of the first royals to openly support gay rights. One of her very first official visits as Queen was to a two-day international gay rights summit in The Hague.
Princess Amalia's official name is Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Oranje-Nassau. She is the firstborn child of the King and Queen and is next in line for the Dutch throne. Born in 2003, the future Queen has had a relatively normal upbringing, much in thanks to her parents. When she turns 18, her obligations and duties will shift to more formal, royal ones, but until then she is still a kid who enjoys doing typical teenage things. Princess Amalia enjoys hockey, judo, ballet, horse riding, plays the violin, and speaks Dutch along with some Spanish, which she learned from her mother.
Princess Alexia is the second daughter of the King and the Queen. Born in 2005, Alexia, like her sister, has been raised by her parents and doesn't yet perform royal duties on behalf of her royal house. She attends school and is a fan of ballet and horse riding. She plays piano and enjoys both hockey and tennis. She is in school at Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet and will further her studies this summer at UWC Atlantic College in Wales along with another well-known royal princess. Princess Lenore of Spain will also be furthering her studies at the famed school known for educating royals around the world.
Born in 2007, Ariene is the youngest of the three Dutch princesses. Still too young to engage in her royal family duties, Ariene focuses her energies and attentions on her schoolwork, her piano playing, ballet, and judo. She speaks Dutch fluently and knows Spanish, thanks to her Spanish-speaking mother, Queen Máxima.
Before King Willem and Queen Máxima sat on the royal throne, his highness's mother, Beatrix, and her husband Claus did. Former Queen Beatrix ruled over the Netherlands from 1980 to 2013, when she abdicated her throne to her eldest son and his wife. Princess Beatrix was born to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. She grew up with three royal sisters, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet, and Princess Christina. When Beatrix was only two years old, her family fled their native country and settled in Canada. Five years later, they returned to their native soil.
Beatrix earned a law degree from Leiden University in 1961 and a few years later met her future husband, German Claus of Amsberg. The future King and Queen were married in 1967. They had three sons, born in 1967, 1968, and 1969. The former Queen has known her fair share of tragedy over the years. She lost her longtime husband and partner, Claus, in 2002. She then lost her middle son in 2012 to a sudden and tragic accident.
Prince Frisco was the middle son of former Queen Beatrix and her Prince, Claus. During his life, he worked in London, was wed to Mabel Wisse Smit, and was father to two daughters. He lost his chance at the throne upon his marriage to his wife because of her former involvement with a known Dutch drug criminal.
In 2012, Prince Frisco was on holiday skiing when an avalanche hit. He was buried under the snow for 15 minutes and suffered a massive heart attack. His injuries were substantial, and he fell into a coma, only ever regaining minimal consciousness. After a year of serious health battles, Prince Frisco passed away.
The youngest son of the former King and Queen, Prince Constantijn, is a well-learned man. He studied at Leiden University, where he majored in civil law. He went on to study at the European Institute of Business Administration at Fontainebleau, where he earned an MBA. He wed Laurentien Brinkhorst, whom he had known from childhood thanks to their mothers' friendship, and the royal pair have three children together, daughter Eloise, son Claus-Casimir and second daughter Leonore. Prince Constantijn holds several honorary positions on numerous boards. He served as chairman of the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and as an Honorary Chairman of the Prince Claus Fund. He also lent his name to the World Press Photo foundation.
The Popularity of the Dutch Royal Family
The popularity of the Dutch royal family has declined recently due to misjudgment regarding the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, as well as questionable financial decisions made by the King. The Dutch people were less than pleased to see their King, Queen, and royal children away on holiday after being told to stay put and not travel because of safety precautions. When the family returned home early from their getaway, it was discovered that two of their daughters stayed behind, further angering the people of the Netherlands.
The King's decision to purchase his eldest daughter a pricey boat raised even more eyebrows and three-quarters of the population felt that Princess Amalia's €1.6m 18th birthday allowance is too extravagant a gift. While the royal family remains less popular than in years past, they continue to sit as figureheads of their small country. The young family will have to work in the years to come to earn the love and respect of its people.