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King Willem-Alexander visits Royal Netherlands Marechaussee

On Tuesday, 2 October, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visited the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee in the Willem Lodewijk of Nassaukazerne in Zoutkamp.

His Majesty’s visit was aimed at watching a military exercise promoted by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee where 200 guards take part in for two weeks in a realistic scenario. The guards are responsible for securing a fictional country in various circumstances, from humanitarian disasters to murder investigations.

The King was received on his arrival by Lieutenant-General Van den Brink and the officer responsible for the exercise, Colonel Keijer.

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is one of the four branches of the Dutch Armed Forces, and they are responsible for the protection of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, both in Europe and in the Caribbean. Among many other duties, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is responsible for securing the royal palaces in the Netherlands and providing close protection officers for members of the Dutch Royal Family. Before becoming King, Willem-Alexander was made a Brigadier General of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee in 2005.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was born on 27 April 1967 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The first of three sons, Willem-Alexander was second-in-line to the throne at the time of his birth, as his mother, Princess Beatrix, was the then heir to the Dutch throne. His father, who became Prince Claus of the Netherlands after his marriage, was a former German diplomat.

Following the abdication of Willem-Alexander’s maternal grandmother, Queen Juliana, his mother became Queen of the Netherlands on 30 April 1980. Willem-Alexander then assumed the use of the title traditionally associated with the heir to the Dutch monarchy, Prince of Orange.

On 2 February 2002, the future King married Argentinian-born Máxima Zorreguieta. In connection with her marriage, Máxima received Dutch citizenship and became a Princess of the Netherlands.

The couple’s first child, Princess Catharina-Amalia, was born on 7 December 2003. She was followed by two other daughters, Princess Alexia (b. 2005) and Princess Ariane (b. 2007).

After 33 years as Queen, Beatrix decided it was time for her son to take on the role of monarch of the Netherlands, and on 30 April 2013, she abdicated. Since then, Willem-Alexander and Máxima have been King and Queen of the Netherlands, and His Majesty’s heir is his eldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia, who now bears the title of Princess of Orange.

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