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willem blaeuw

Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange

Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (in Dutch: Prins van Oranje). (given names: Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born April 27, 1967) is the eldest son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the heir apparent to the Dutch throne.

Early life and education

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, The Prince of Orange, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg is the eldest son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her late husband, Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg. The Prince was born in Utrecht. His godparents are Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (his grandfather), Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck, former Dutch Prime Minister Dr. Jelle Zijlstra, Gosta van Amsberg, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (at the time Crown Princess of Denmark), and Renee Smith. He was educated at a Protestant high school in The Hague, and also attended the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales prior to university. He has been groomed in state affairs to assume the Dutch throne one day. He earned an academic degree in history from Leiden University and is interested in international water management issues.

Work and royal duties

Prince Willem-Alexander is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN, and the Swedish Ministry of Development. He was appointed as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation on December 12th, 2006.

The prince is a member of the Raad van State, the highest council to the Dutch government that is chaired by his mother, Queen Beatrix. As part of his Royal duties, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army (as brigadier), Navy (as commandeur) and Air Force (as commodore) and was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, he has expressed support to bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

On behalf of the Crown, the Prince carries out various other representative duties.

Leisure activities

He is an aircraft pilot and sportsman. In 1989, the Prince flew as a volunteer for the "African Medical Research and Education Foundation" (AMREF) in Kenya, and in 1991 he spent a month flying for the Kenya Wildlife Service. To make sure he flies enough miles a year, so that he can hold his license to fly, he also regularly flies the Dutch Royal Airplane when he and his family travel abroad.

Using the name "van Buren", one of the less well-known surnames of the House of Orange-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City Marathon, where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities ice skating marathon.

The Prince was also seen cheering on the Netherlands' national football team during their hosting year, at Euro 2000. He memorably gave a nervous laugh of disbelief as the Netherlands missed their second penalty of normal time against the Italians in the semi-final.

Marriage

In a 1999 television interview, the Prince declared that he wouldn't marry in the next 10 years. At the time, he was 32 years old, and his father didn't marry until he was nearly 40.

Nonetheless, on February 2 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (born May 17 1971), an Argentine woman of Spanish and Italian ancestry who, prior to their marriage, worked as an investment banker in New York City.

Like all Dutch monarchs, Prince Willem-Alexander is a nominal member of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church but, unlike the highly controversial 1964 marriage to a Roman Catholic by his aunt, Princess Irene, religion was not a major issue in the Prince's marriage.

The prince is a direct descendant of Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, eldest daughter of British King George II. However, under the British Act of Settlement, Prince Willem-Alexander forfeited his (distant) succession rights to the throne of each of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms, because he married a Roman Catholic.

The issue of Máxima's father, Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini was rather sensitive. He was a civilian member of the Videla regime, a dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. As a result of the controversy, Mr. Zorreguieta agreed not to attend the royal wedding when representatives of Prime Minister Wim Kok requested him to stay away.

Issue

Name Birth Birthplace
Princess Catharina-Amalia 7 December 2003 The Hague
Princess Alexia 26 June 2005 The Hague
Princess Ariane 10 April 2007 The Hague

Heir apparent: titles and style

  • His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg (1967-1980)
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange (since 1980)

His official title is "His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander , Prince of Orange, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg".

When his mother Queen Beatrix became the queen regnant of the Netherlands, prince Willem-Alexander obtained the title "Prince of Orange" as new heir to the Dutch throne.

He is the first male heir-apparent to the Dutch throne since Prince Alexander, son of King William III, who died in 1884. Prince Willem-Alexander has indicated that upon succeeding his mother, he would assume the throne under the title of King William IV of the Netherlands. If he ascends the throne, he will be the Netherlands' first male monarch since 1890.

Prince Willem-Alexander is also heir-apparent to the following titles:

  • Marquis of Veere
  • Marquis of Vlissingen
  • Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam and Culemborg
  • Viscount of Antwerp
  • Baron of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the city of Grave, the land of Cuijk, IJsselstein, Cranendonck, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstel, Waasten, Arlay and Nozeroy
  • Vrijheer of Ameland
  • Lord of Borculo, Bredevoort, Lichtenvoorde, Loo, Geertruidenberg, Klundert, Zevenbergen, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, Sint Maartensdijk, Soest, Baarn, Ter Eem, Willemstad, Steenbergen, Montfoort, St. Vith, Büttgenbach, Niervaart, Daasburg, Turnhout and Besançon

Ancestry

References

External links

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