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The Netherlands

Princess of Orange to mark adulthood with extraordinary Council of State meeting speech

copyright: RVD

The Princess of Orange will one day be Queen of the Netherlands. On the 7th of December, she will turn 18-years-old and be a legal adult.

The occasion will be marked by Her Royal Highness’s attendance at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of State, one of the independent legislative bodies of the country. 

While the Princess of Orange will have no effective powers, nor the right to vote, this is done to make the heir to the throne more comfortable with the country’s legislative system. 

The meeting will be held to formally welcome Princess Amalia into her new seat, to which she has the right since her 18th birthday according to article 74 of the Dutch constitution; the meeting will be held the day after her birthday. 

Her Royal Highness will give her first official speech on this occasion and listen to speeches from King Willem-Alexander and Vice President de Graaf. 

The meeting would have normally been held in the Full Council Chamber in the Binnenhof; however, because the building is currently under construction for some needed renovation work, it will instead be held in the Ballroom of Kneuterdijk Palace. 

Following the meeting, the Princess of Orange will plant a royal lime in the French Garden of the Palace to mark the occasion at the invitation of the Council.

Both King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be present for the occasion; the King has had his seat in the Council of State since he became heir to the throne himself in 1985, while the Queen has been formally admitted in 2004, two years after her wedding. Her Majesty, like her daughter, will have no power to vote. 

The Council of State is an independent advisor to the government and Parliament of the country on matters of legislation and administration. It is composed of two branches, one that advises on legislation, called the Advisory Division, and one that functions as the highest general administrative court in the country called the Administrative Jurisdiction Division. 

The heir to the throne has a place at both of the branches by law, although the place is more to observe than to make decisions. The sovereign, in this case, King Willem-Alexander, is the President of the Council. However, he rarely presides over meetings, and the Vice President, currently Mr Thom de Graaf, acts as the de facto chairman of the Council. 

This extraordinary Council of State meeting will mark the formal entrance of the Princess of Orange in her official duties as heir to the throne, something that will only intensify over the years to come. 

Turning 18 is a milestone birthday for any teenager, from those eagerly awaiting to have the right to vote to those who simply wish for more independence from their families; however, for members of the royal families around the world, reaching adulthood comes with a lot more responsibilities and challenges, mainly because of the increase in official duties they have to perform.