So, who got up at 4 a.m. Tuesday to watch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand becomes the first Dutch king since 1890?
Not too many? Thought not. The investiture in Holland barely registered in the news over here, so there weren’t too many live viewing parties. “America doesn’t really know what to do with kings,” said Shanti de Jongh of DC Dutch, a social group of Dutch expats.
The embassy in Washington, decorated with 5,000 flowers flown in for the occasion, is hosting several receptions and dinners. (Related: For Dutch investiture celebration in Washington, orange is the color) More than 700 Dutch-Americans are expected at Tuesday night’s sold-out watch party on tape delay: Queen Beatrix formally stepping down after 33 years to make way for her son — at 46, he’s now king of the Netherlands, Curacao, Aruba and Saint Maarten and the youngest monarch in Europe. At his side: Argentine wife Princess Maxima, and three young daughters; the oldest, nine-year-old Catharina-Amalia, is first in line to succeed him.
Update, 9 a.m.: On Tuesday morning, Beatrix signed abdication documents in a nationally-televised ceremony, Willem-Alexander by her side; hours later, the son, wearing a regal fur mantle, took an oath of allegiance in Amsterdam’s historic New Church. From the Associated Press:
Beatrix looked close to tears as she then appeared on a balcony decked out with tulips, roses and oranges, overlooking 25,000 of her subjects.
“I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king, Willem-Alexander,” she told the cheering crowd, which chanted: “Bea bedankt” (“Thanks Bea.”)
Moments later, in a striking symbol of the generational shift, she left the balcony and King Willem-Alexander, his wife and three daughters – the children in matching yellow dresses and headbands – waved to the crowd.
Speaking of succession, the guest list is peppered with royal heirs-in-waiting: Britian’s Prince Charles, Denmark’s Prince Frederick, Sweden’s Princess Victoria, Spain’s Prince Felipe, Japan’s Prince Naruhito and many more uncrowned heads. Good things (eventually) come to those who wait. And wait. And wait. . .