[QODLink]
Europe

Crown Prince installed as new Dutch king

Willem-Alexander, who takes abdicating mother's position, becomes Europe's youngest monarch at the age of 46.

Last Modified: 30 Apr 2013 17:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander has been installed as Europe's youngest monarch after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated, making way for a new generation of Dutch royals.

In a ceremony attended by future kings and queens, including Britain's Prince Charles, Willem-Alexander, 46, became the first Dutch king since 1890.

Thousands of orange-clad people gathered outside as Beatrix, 75, ended her 33-year reign by signing the act of abdication at the royal palace in Amsterdam's Dam Square.

Beatrix appeared on the balcony of the palace to greet the masses after signing the paperwork. 

"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 symbol of the generational shift in the House of Orange-Nassau, she left the balcony and King Willem-Alexander, his wife and three daughters waved to the crowd.

"Dear mother, today you relinquished the throne. Thirty-three moving and inspiring years. We are intensely, intensely grateful to you," the new king said.

Beatrix, 75, became a mere princess again after her son took over the throne.

The king's popular Argentine-born wife became Queen Maxima and their eldest of three daughters, Catharina-Amalia, became Princess of Orange and first in line to the throne.

Economic woes

Willem-Alexander pledged to use his ceremonial position as head of state to help steer his country through uncertain economic times.

"I am taking the job at a time when many in the kingdom feel vulnerable and uncertain," Willem-Alexander said. "Vulnerable in their work or health. Uncertain about their income or home environment."

European Union figures released on Tuesday showed Dutch unemployment continuing to trend upward to 6.4 percent - still well below the EU average of 10.9 percent, but higher than it has been for years in the Netherlands.

More than 10,000 police were deployed in Amsterdam for the festivities, and bomb-sniffing dogs carried out security checks for the crowd on Dam Square.

Police said they had arrested 70 people since Monday, including 15 involved in a fight for a good spot to set up a flea market stall. The Dutch traditionally sell their unwanted goods on April 30, a national party usually known as Queen's Day.

Authorities have closed off Amsterdam airspace to civilian aircraft for three days and issued strict orders prohibiting the use of drones, with rooftop snipers keeping a watchful eye.

The monarchy is popular in the Netherlands, but some question the cost of the royal household and republicans are seeking to get the king's $1m tax-free salary reduced.

An anti-monarchist demonstration was held in the capital on Tuesday, with protesters dressed in white instead of orange and signs mocking Willem-Alexander.

434

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.