Saturday, February 2, 2013
News: The Abdication
Throughout her reign HM Queen Beatrix has soon good times as well as bad and during her life she has seen The Netherlands come from the darkest days of her recent history to be one of the most successful countries in Europe. She has also known some controversy, such as with her marriage to the late Prince Claus, but even that seems almost like a Dutch tradition. Queen Juliana before her faced similar controversy and Prince Willem-Alexander did as well. These cases, however, seem to involve that ugly minority of people who are intent to find something to protest and feign outrage over regardless of the facts of the situation. When Queen Beatrix was formally enthroned some socialist and republican groups took the opportunity to protest, hoping to take advantage of the media attention to get their pictures in the paper and on television screens (ostensibly upset over a housing issue) but, on the whole, the Dutch people have always been very supportive of their monarchy and royal occasions invariably turn the country into a sea of orange as people from every section of society celebrates their Queen and Royal Family. Orange clothes, orange streamers on flags and even ostentatious orange wigs are commonly seen.
HM the Queen has said that her abdication comes, not because the job is too much for her, but because it is time, in her view, to pass leadership to the next generation. In this case, that will be the soon-to-be King Willem-Alexander I and Queen Maxima. I have no doubt that the Queen could continue, doing her usual excellent job, for many, many years to come but certainly no one could blame her even if she had decided that the ‘job’ was too much. Recent years have not been easy for the Queen who was deeply, very deeply, affected by the death of her beloved husband, Prince Claus, in 2002. Then, of course, last year her second son Prince Friso was buried in an avalanche while skiing in Austria and has been mostly comatose ever since with brain damage due to lack of oxygen. In 2009 a deranged man tried to crash his car into a bus carrying the Queen and Royal Family, none of whom were hurt fortunately but eight bystanders will killed and many others badly injured. Few people, especially among the gossip crowd and professional critics, seem to ever consider the emotional toll all of this must have taken on the Queen and it makes her dedicated service all the more remarkable and praiseworthy.