Well, on an entry, actually.
Morning Hapi. I am throwing together an entry on the European royal families. (No, it's not something I know or care much about, either)
This was prompted by the blank looks that the English give you when you mention "Queen Margaret" or "Victoria's Wedding". Actually, I had hoped to have it on the front page for the wedding, in case people started noticing that there was a Swedish royal family and had questions.
Could you give me some idea of
- what the Dutch think of their royal family
- what you know about the Dutch royal family that I'm not likely to find on their official home page,
- the names of some of the Dutch yellow press magazines and how they treat their royals
- what happens on 30 April
and that sort of thing, please. I would be eternally grateful!
Pierce did a very nice job giving me some help with the Danish royal family and I asked our Belgian office at work for some help with Belgium, and my colleague there gave me some really interesting tips.
The Swedes have just said they're not interested in the royals at all, which, while possibly indicative of the attitude of the Swedes in general, means that the section on Sweden will be limited to what the royals tell me about themselves on their own website, plus what I glean from the magazines at the hairdressers.
Look forward to hearing from you.
If you don't have the time or inclination to contribute, can you tell me who else of the Dutch hootooers I could ask?
I must warn you .. I am not entirely unbiased here but I am sure I can tell lots of things about the Dutch royal family
First the history.. Netherlands got themselves a real king in 1815 or so. At that time we got king William I. He came from the family of Orange and members of that family had been (hereditary) steward A Stadtholder (Dutch: stadhouder, "steward" or literally "place-keeper" or "stead-holder" in older Dutch, de facto hereditary head of state of the Dutch Republic since 1580 when we split off from the Spanish kingdom). Technically the stadtholder kept the place of the true king warm .. the true king wasn't expected to return of course, but ...
The first Orange in NL was William the Silent. He was elected as figurehead of the revolt against the king around 1560 or so. The king had moved from Brussels to Madrid at that time, there were commercial issues between Spain and NL and minor religious disagreements. So the Low Countries (Nether Lands) dumped the king (Philip II at the time) and didn't get themselves a new one. They were the Republic of the seven Netherlands (seven provinces.. the southern provinces were not really accepted by the others)
William the silent was poor as a church rat. He spent all his money on armies and women, both with little results.
His sons were slightly more successful with armies. not with women or the money.
The Dutch looked at the surrounding countries and felt they sort of .. you know .. had to have .. something king-ish. A genuine king however .. mm well .. stadhouder would have to do....
Until 1815, after Napoleon had been to Waterloo. Then someone (who? mm .. not a clue really) decided we'd need a real king. the son of the last steward (Stadhouder .. or ) became William I. He was mentally almost stable. His son, William II, was somewhat less stable. He managed however to get himself a son, William III.
Now William III was not stable, no way. He was known in most pleasure houses between the Hague and Paris, and if the clinics would have given colour coded cards for STD treatments he would have had a full rainbow, including some of the rare colours outside the visible range. (mind you, royal families had odd inter-family breeding policies, William III's family tree looked like a road map of London centre .. not unlike most other royal families at the time).
So William III's first wife produced drooling idiots and petty criminals only. His second wife (at a time when William III himself could not even sit straight any more), produced a healthy and relatively intelligent daughter: Wilhelmina. Involvement of a handsome, strong cavalry officer was denied by all parties.
Since that time NL had queens: Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix. They each married into the poorest of German almost-nobility, probably every one of them the product of Mendel-defying breeding strategies.
Now we have queen Beatrix. She seems to have graduated at a local university, nobody is exactly sure what she graduated on and her thesis is state secret. The newspapers tell us she is intelligent, but most of the Dutch only know that she's rich. Of Beatrix' three sisters, one is almost sane, the other hugs trees and talks to them, and the third is a nice housewife, almost capable of making tea so the story goes.
Beatrix has four sons, one of them could become William IV. The others seem to be relatively clever and do (with a bit of help from the family name??) quite well, most in business.
William IV too graduated from a university. His thesis too is state secret, but probably has something to do with faithful copying of family archives. His military uniforms are dazzling with lots of medals, but nobody is sure what they're for. Presumably most are for participating in skating tours and primary school sports events that give out medals.
the future William IV is rich. He will be head of one of the richer families in Europe at one time, and he makes that known to anyone who is willing to listen. He made that known to a quite attractive Argentinian blonde who married with speed and .. mm .. well
He tried to buy himself (and his gorgeous Argentinian blonde) two villas in a resort for the filthy rich in Mozambique. However, when he carelessly let it slip that he and his family and body guards would need frequent transport to that resort, financed and organised by the Dutch state, he was forced to sell his villas.
His mum makes 2 MEuro tax-free per year, has all lodging and travel paid by the state. Security is paid by the state. Maintenance of her sailing ship is paid by the state. Houses are all state property and maintained by .. well .. I can go on .. We are slowly wondering if we're ever getting anything back for that .. as return of investment or so.
William IV and his blonde each make a bit over 1.5 MEuro. Their expenses are also largely paid by the state, however they travel a lot more than queen B. He is known by KLM (the airplane company) crew as impolite, uncivilised and in general not pleasant to have around.
There is as yet no majority in favour of NL being a republic. Considerable sums are spent now on spin doctors, media training, and all that, all in efforts to move public opinion towards monarchy, and away from revolution (bl00dy or not).
Most Dutch are not really convinced that William IV should really be a king. let's say there are not many directly against monarchy.
Wellll... ah yes .. the 30th of April .. that was the birthday of the old queen (Juliana, queen from .. uhmm .. 1948 to 1980). End of April is usually a nice day, weather wise, and during Juliana's reign people went to her house, walked by, gave flowers and cakes to the queen who stood waving on her balcony. That was nice and uncomplicated. It was on tv, every year, and everyone wondered what on earth Juliana would do with all the home baked cakes she got.
Now Beatrix' birthday is end January. most often horrible weather so, queen's day is still celebrated 30 April. Beatrix prefers to have a bus rented for her and and her family, and visit one or two cities (villages) in NL. These villages then are more or less obliged to prepare a party, have school kids sing and do games, have 95 year old clog makers demonstrate ancient craftsmanship, and in general .. mm
William IV's b'day will be end April again ..
I wonder if this will get moderated
of course other Dutch might have a slightly different opinion about the orange lot .. maybe even a more positive opinion. after all there's 16 million of us and we stick together just because every one of us has a different opinion about everything.
No - thanks! That's fine. I shall be able to use much of that. Thank you for your time.
How are you? Hope everything is going well now.
ah, and I'm fine, all in one piece, and one eye is perfectly good.. or as good as it ever was
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