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Yesterday, Queen Beatrix formally abdicated the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and passed it to her son Willem-Alexander. The ceremony was short and simple, with Beatrix signing the act of abdication, followed by Willem-Alexander, his wife Máxima, and various members of the Dutch government as witnesses. The ceremony was followed by a balcony appearance, where the newly-minted Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands introduced the Dutch people to their new King.

Photo by Howard Stanbury. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A few hours later, Willem-Alexander was formally inaugurated in the Nieuwe Kerk before the members of the States General, the Dutch parliament.

Video courtesy The Telegraph.

What I will take away from the events of yesterday is the love the Dutch Royal Family has for each other, the love the Dutch people have for their Royal Family, and a feeling like the Dutch know how to have a good time. The Royal Family – Willem-Alexander, Máxima, and Princess Mabel (wife of the injured Prince Friso) all made sure to offer Beatrix a supporting hand, as she often got a wistful look. (I know I thought several times that Beatrix looked like she needed a hug.) The crowd in Dam Square outside the palace punctuated the day with their cheers – especially during the abdication ceremony, as they could be heard from inside. Everybody seemed to be decked out in orange, the national color (in reference to the royal House of Oranje-Nassau), with hats of every size and shape.

All told, the events seemed to cover about 14 hours or so, and even though I had to start watching at midnight California time and only caught a few quick naps over the course of the day, I’m so glad I watched. Who knows when the next inauguration or coronation will be, so it was fascinating to be able to take this look at the next generation taking its place. (And, yes, Máxima was absolutely stunning in her royal blue and sapphires. Everything a young, modern Queen should look like without overshadowing her husband. As if anything could upstage that massive ermine robe…)

Lang leve Koning Willem-Alexander en koningin Máxima! (Long live King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima!)