April 30th was the day our Queen abdicated and our new king was inaugurated. It was a beautiful day with lots of people wiping away some tears (myself included). Queen Beatrix has been our queen for thirty three years and apparently we were more emotionally attached to her than we thought we were.
The day started in Amsterdam with the Abdication ceremony, a solemn and formal affair without much to show for. It had the royal family and all members of the government around a table signing the “Abdication Act”. The master of ceremony reads the “Act” and then Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and princess Maxima sign it. The very moment the Queen puts her signature on it she is no longer Queen but princess Beatrix and her son is King. No frills at that moment, just pen on paper and that’s it. After that all members of the government sign (that takes quite some time, lol) and that’s the end of the official Abdication ceremony. We have a new King.
Of course everything can be seen on television and on big screens outside. The moment Queen Beatrix welcomed everyone (she is the host as it is her abdication) people outside started to cheer. It was a lovely sound during quite a formal affair and it made everyone around that table smile. When the then King Willem-Alexander signed you could hear applause outside. Nice! His wife is now Queen Maxima but only in title. We have only one head of state and that’s the King.
After the ceremony the three of them came out on the balcony where Princess Beatrix (it still sounds weird) announced officially to the nation that she had abdicated in favor of her son, King Willem-Alexander. It was a sweet moment when they kissed and held hands … they are such a close and loving family.
In the afternoon the official, more “showy” part of the day started. The new King had to swear loyalty to the Constitution and to the people. From all royal families all over the world the crown-princess and princesses, European dignitaries and important people had come. The Inauguration took place in the Grote Kerk (the Great Church) even though it is not a religious affair. It’s just that it’s the largest building with style. Part of the church was filled with people from all walks of life, there by special request of the King and Queen.
When everyone was in church the little princesses, princess Beatrix and the rest of the family were escorted in … a lovely sight. They sat in front to see their daddy and mommy on this important day.
In the church they sat on a small platform, on two small thrones. After a speech the King and Queen stood up and the King pledged allegiance to the Constitution and the people. It was a moving moment.
They even stopped at a floating stage where the Royal Concertgebouw Orkest played together with DJ Armin van Buuren. I mean, that was really old and new together … especially with the family going on stage to greet the musicians.
So, now we have a new King and Queen here. It’s still a bit strange to see our former queen, now princess Beatrix taking second row after her son but we will get used to it quite soon. And this day at least showed the world and ourselves that we really love our Royal family. We wouldn’t have it any other way :)