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The Netherlands

Reflections on a reign in the Netherlands in 2023

It was a year of celebration and reflections for the Dutch Royal Family. King Willem-Alexander celebrated 10 years on the throne. His heir, Princess Catharina-Amalia, continued her journey onto her future path. Queen Máxima continued her advocacy for financial inclusion, and Princesses Alexia and Ariane hit their own milestones.

All in all, a steady year for the Dutch Royal Family, but eventful nonetheless! Let’s recap.

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Princess Catharina-Amalia prepared for her first official visit with her parents at the tail end of January and into February. The future queen visited the Dutch Caribbean amidst some protests and spoke about how she misses life as a ‘regular student’ due to the threats against her that forced her out of university housing and back home. She garnered support from the government and her uncle when she spoke out.  

In June, Princess Amalia headed to Amnan, Jordan, for a royal wedding, and the self-confessed jewel lover sported a tiara she’d once played with in childhood.

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Elsewhere, we argued that the focus should be on Catharina-Amalia’s work, not her body.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary on 2 February. Of course, we had to take a stroll down memory lane remembering that gorgeous wedding gown and that beautiful bouquet.

In April, King Willem-Alexander celebrated 10 years on the Dutch throne. There were many celebrations, including a podcast appearance where he talked of the highs and lows of his reign. Two of his daughters surprised him at the King’s Day Concert; and special portraits were released to mark his jubilee, and again later in the year, more portraits!

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A special engagement on Valentine’s Day saw Queen Máxima spending time with young cancer patients. King Willem-Alexander visited the site of a deadly train crash; and we covered the French State Visit to the Netherlands here. A visit to Spain was covered here, and a State Visit from South Korea was covered here.

But one of the biggest visits for the Dutch Royal Family came in June, when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima headed to Belgium for an official visit and joint celebration of the 10th anniversaries of both his reign and King Philippe’s reign.  

In July, King Willem-Alexander apologised for the Netherlands’s involvement in the slave trade. He also cancelled his annual vacation when the Dutch government fell.

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For Queen Máxima it was business as usual: the business of promoting microfinance and financial stability. In January she conducted an interview about financial health; in February she showed support for those struggling with their energy bills; and in March, she visited Morrocco on behalf of the United Nations. She also spoke of the financial dangers on the internet and how children can be affected.

A television series was announced in the style of The Crown, this one focusing on Queen Máxima’s early life and path to marriage (it’ll premiere in 2024). We doubt they’ll cover the three hedgehogs Queen Máxima adopted in November, but we did! We also covered the jaw-dropping gown the Queen wore to a fashion exhibit in Paris.

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We explored the Dutch line of succession; celebrated Princesses Alexia and Ariane on their birthdays (Alexia became a Knight Grand Cross of the Netherlands Lion on her birthday); and talked about their educational plans. Ariane announced her plans to study in Italy while Alexia graduated alongside the future queen of Spain.

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In September, Alexia was announced to attend Prinsjesdag for the first time. The King gave a poignant speech reflecting on the first decade of his reign. We looked at Queen Máxima’s role with the United Nations and covered the King’s tribute to those lost in the Rotterdam shooting in October. We also covered Their Majesties’ message following the attacks in the Middle East. As Christmas loomed, we talked about the Dutch Royal Family’s traditions

Princess Beatrix’s birthday came with new portraits of three generations of monarchs; in February, she broke her wrist and needed surgery.

Princess Beatrix with King Willem-Alexander and Princess Catharina-Amalia in a portrait to mark her 85th birthday. The three generations portrait was taken to celebrate the birthday of the former monarch in January 2023.
©RVD – Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk

Elsewhere, we covered Prince Constantijn’s family: Princess Laurentien spoke out about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine; Countess Eloise joined a television make-up competition and urged people to use second-hand clothes.

Princess Margriet turned 80 and we looked back on the special circumstances of her Canadian wartime birth. The Dutch Royal Court released new portraits of Princess Margriet, too.

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As King Charles III’s coronation dominated the news, we explored how King Willem-Alexander and King Charles are related.

All in all, a steady year for King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and their ‘Triple A-Team’ daughters. We can’t wait to see what 2024 holds!

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About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.