On the tenth anniversary of his enthronement, King William of Orange, 56, wanted to give his vision of the crown he represents in a series of 10 chapters in the format of podcast. titled through the king’s eyes and concluded on Thursday, throughout the episodes he has been honest about a role “that marks what you will become, but how you will do it depends on you.” She has spoken of the “fraternal support” between her three daughters, princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariana. And he has described his wife, the queen consort Máxima, as his “companion”: “In a task that I must do alone, but that is much more effective with her support and collaboration.” The Dutch sovereign is not going through his best moment of popularity, according to the polls, and he has bluntly acknowledged that his failed vacation in Greece in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, was “the biggest error in judgment of my life.” His popularity then plummeted because he was perceived to have let his countrymen down. In the production he has mentioned his abdication, which he sees “in the distant future.” When the time comes, however, he assures that he will make a decision “after having thoroughly consulted with Amalia”, his eldest daughter.
Abdicating is a delicate matter in all monarchies. In some cases, such as in the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II’s spirit of service reached hours before her death, on September 8, at the age of 96. The Dutch tradition is different. Queens Guillermina, Juliana and Beatriz (Guillermo’s great-grandmother, grandmother and mother, respectively) abdicated and the act is carried out without incident. Of course, King Guillermo admits that he prefers not to think about this type of thing: “There are many factors and you do not know what can happen.” It does stress the importance that Princess Amalia “have a long preparation and time for herself.” “Time to start a family or whatever you want to do, and then, as it happened with my mother, we will decide a date together,” he assured.
She acknowledges that her heiress cannot yet lead a normal life due to the tight security measures that have surrounded her since it became known that she may be a target of organized crime. “I hope all this happens soon, because it affects us enormously.” In the conversation with the radio host Edwin Evers, the monarch does not avoid the power of social networks: “My daughters see everything and we talk about it. It is an inescapable reality and they have to learn to deal with it. It affects them, but they must learn not to take it as a personal attack.”
William of Orange ascended to the throne in 2013, after the abdication of his mother, who is now Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. She was 75 years old and had reigned for 32. The enthronement ceremony took place on April 30, 2013, and he was the first male to take over in more than a century. In it podcast, the monarch acknowledges that that day he had “a kind of out-of-body sensation” in which he saw himself when the national anthem was being sung in the New Church in Amsterdam. As the iconic composition filled the temple, he wondered, “Who do you think you are to do this?” He then says that he responds to that every day: “You tell yourself that you can do something as wonderful as being the king of this beautiful country, and that encourages you to keep trying.” Next to her, Máxima Zorreguieta, born in Argentina, became queen consort and the image of her dressed in cobalt blue by the Dutch designer Jan Taminiau marked style. In the Netherlands there is no actual coronation, so the king wore an ermine cape and his wife a spectacular sapphire tiara.
The 10 episodes include funny passages, such as the fact that Guillermo has grown a beard and does not consider it necessary to exchange the coins minted with his hairless effigy. “I don’t know if I’ll shave, but I have the razor handy,” he says, laughing. There is also time for two of the saddest moments of his reign. The first is the attack that caused the crash of flight MH17, in 2014, in the territory of Ukraine. The Malaysia Airlines aircraft was shot down by a Russian-made rocket fired from a pro-Russian area in Ukrainian territory, according to Dutch justice, and its 298 occupants died. Of these, 196 were Dutch. The king is an aviation pilot and cannot forget the emotion felt during the repatriation of the corpses. The covered route was between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur: “Those types of planes are usually full, so you know that what happened is very serious,” he says.
The other moment is familiar, and refers to the death of his brother, Friso. In 2012, the prince was buried in the snow due to an avalanche and spent a year and a half in a coma until he finally died: “When they give you the news, it is similar to the call received by the relatives of the victims of MH17.” “I spoke a lot with those who had lost their loved ones and they told me that I could understand their suffering. I thought it was very special that they saw him like this.” Friso de Orange passed away in August 2013.
There is an episode from the past that still disturbs the Dutch king and refers to the role of his family during World War II. In her opinion, Queen Wilhelmina could have shown more support for the Dutch Jewish community, which was nearly wiped out (there were 102,000 victims out of 107,000 deportations, according to the Anne Frank House, which manages her legacy). “My great-grandmother could have played a different role and that’s something that doesn’t leave me.”
And there is a much more recent meeting that he regrets, given what happened later. It is the beer that was taken with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in February 2014. They saw each other during the Winter Olympics in the Russian town of Sochi, “and nobody knew that soon after he would invade Crimea.” The image of the royal couple sharing a drink became famous, and the monarch stressed that both countries had celebrated their friendly relations the previous year, “and the government’s policy indicated that it was worth strengthening ties.” “I would never have drunk with President Putin if I had known what would happen next,” he now admits. At the farewell of podcast applauds “the ability to defend itself” displayed by the Ukrainians in the war against Russia, and prepares for the next decade on the throne. I wish him for the future: “May there be less suffering.”