"Willem-Alexander sworn in as king of the Netherlands"
Willem-Alexander has been sworn in as king of the Netherlands following the abdication of Queen Beatrix. He became the country's first king since 1890 when his 75-year-old mother signed the abdication deed earlier on Tuesday after 33 years on the throne. The day's celebrations culminated in a water pageant, with the king sailing down Amsterdam's River IJ, greeting the thousands of people lining the banks. Some 200 boats took part in the royal flotilla, many decorated in orange. From a stage on the riverbank, the royal family were treated to a video montage of the country's sporting achievements since the king's birth 46 years ago. Earlier in the day, the new king swore to uphold the constitution at a colourful enthronement ceremony in the Nieuwe Kerk, a decommissioned church, before a joint session of the Dutch parliament. "I swear that I shall defend and preserve the independence and territory of the state with all my powers," he said. "That I shall protect the general and individual freedom and rights of all my subjects and shall use all available means granted to me by law for preserving and promoting general and individual prosperity as I befitting of a good king.... So help me God almighty." An estimated 25,000 people crowded into the square outside cheered as the announcement of his inauguration was made amid a trumpet fanfare. Many international royals and high-ranking dignitaries are taking part in the events, including the UK's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain and Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his wife.
Abdication day in the Netherlands:
- 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) - Queen Beatrix signs the act of abdication at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam
- 10:30 - the former queen, now Princess Beatrix, and the new King Willem-Alexander appear on the palace balcony, with new Queen Maxima
- 14:00 - King Willem-Alexander is sworn in at the Nieuwe Kerk
- 19:30 - performance of The Song for the King followed by a water pageant
Willem-Alexander has said he wants to "be a king that can bring society together, representative and encouraging in the 21st Century". He has said he does not expect to be called "his majesty," saying people can address him "as they wish". He is the seventh monarch from the House of Orange-Nassau, which has ruled the Netherlands since the early 19th Century. Under Dutch law, the monarch has few powers and the role is considered ceremonial. He or she is expected to be politically impartial, co-sign acts of parliament, help with the formation of new governments and to undertake state visits.
King Willem-Alexander has become not only the monarch of the Netherlands but also the Dutch Caribbean territories of Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. He holds several military titles but requested an honourable discharge before his accession.
^ I wonder if King Willem-Alexander will follow the tradition that his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother did and abdicate. I think a monarch should only abdicate if they become too ill. It has been over 100 years since there has been a King of the Netherlands and I am curious if the new monarch will break from tradition and if so how. ^