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The special honours granted to a princess to mark a major milestone

Royal Palace, Amsterdam

The year just gone has seen royals across Europe come of age. While there has been huge focus on those who will one day reign, others have marked their milestones more privately. But although it was a more low key celebration, the 18th birthday of Princess Alexia of the Netherlands saw a string of important events taken place. Among them was the granting of two special honours to the princess by her father, King Willem-Alexander.

The King of the Netherlands made his second daughter a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion and a Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau via Royal Decree.

Alexia was made a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion on 19 June 2023, a week before she turned 18. Queen Wilhelmina was the first woman to be appointed as a knight to the order in 1898; since then, all children of the monarch have been granted the honour for their 18th birthday.

The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau is shared with the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg. Alexia has been a member of the order since 26 June 2023, the day on which she achieved her majority.

The princess can also now use the official flag of the Dutch Royal Family for the daughters of King Willem-Alexander. The orange swallow-tailed flag, with a blue cross and coat of arms of the Netherlands, Royal Family and Zorreguieta family, is able to be used by each princess once they turn 18. The King issued a Royal Decree in November 2021 to establish the flag for his three daughters.

The princess, who is second in line to the throne, can now undertake royal duties if she so chooses.

The summer of 2023 also saw her graduate from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales alongside Spain’s Princess Leonor. Alexia then began a gap year before starting university.

Princess Alexia will have more freedom than her older sister, Princess Amalia, the Princess of Orange, as Amalia will one day be Queen of the Netherlands. As the spare, Alexia has a slim chance of having to take on those responsibilities, giving her more freedom in choosing her life’s path.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.