HILVERSUM, The Netherlands—Willem-Alexander was inaugurated Wednesday as the first Dutch king in more than 100 years.
His mother Beatrix, who reigned for 33-years, signed the deed of abdication in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
After the abdication, the 46-year old King Willem-Alexander, his Argentinian wife Queen Maxima, and mother Beatrix appeared together on the balcony of the palace overlooking the immense cheering orange-clad crowd on Amsterdam’s Dam square. Millions of Dutch watched the ceremony live on television.
“I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king,” said the visible emotional Beatrix.
The likewise emotional Willem-Alexander thanked his mother for ‘thirty-three interesting and inspiring years.’ Then the three of them held hands while the Dutch national anthem played.
The succession to the throne coincides with the Dutch national holiday, Queen’s day, on which the Queens’ birthday is traditionally celebrated. A day on which the Dutch, regardless of their affinity with the Royal House, hold festivities and celebrate.
In her valedictory address, Beatrix thanked the people for their support and said that her son, Willem-Alexander, is fully prepared for kingship in every respect.
She also emphasized the positive influence her husband, the late Prince Claus, has had on her and the royal house and called the decision to marry him possibly the best decision she has ever made.
Many royal guests, such as Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Charles, Spanish Crown Prince Felipe, Moroccan Princes Lalla Salma and Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, amongst many other, attended the ceremony.
“In history we find the root of the values that we share. One of these values pertains the serving role that the King fulfills. The King holds a position in service of the community,” said Willem-Alexander in his inauguration speech.
Willem-Alexander said that even though the Dutch king no longer has political power it does not mean he has no responsibility.
Willem-Alexander earlier said that people don’t need to address him with “Your Majesty” but in any way they feel comfortable. He appears to prefer a slightly more informal approach than his mother.
Even though Beatrix is very popular with the Dutch public, the role of the Royal House has widely been debated in the Netherlands. Critics say that the Royal House is outdated and fulfills no purpose while costing too much. The majority, however, estimated at around 70 percent, supports the Royal House.
With the inauguration, the King’s oldest daughter, the nine-year-old Catharina-Amalia, now is Princess of Orange and the first-in-line to the throne.