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The Netherlands make changes for future king Willem-Alexander

29 JANUARY 2013

Following the news of Queen Beatrix's abdication, the Dutch Royal Household has begun implementing several changes in preparation for Prince Willem-Alexander's accession to the throne.

The order of  succession will now change as the Prince of Orange prepares to become King of the Netherlands. When Willem-Alexander is inaugurated on April 30, his wife, Princess Maxima, will become Queen consort. In accordance with the country's constitution the couple's eldest daughter Princess Amalia, who is  nine-years-old, will then become the heir apparent.

 

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The youngster, whose full name is Cathalina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria, was born on December 7, 2003 a year after Willem-Alexander and Maxima’s wedding. She was baptised on June 12, 2004 in the church of St. James in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.  

Amalia's sisters Alexia, seven and five-year-old Ariane will follow their elder sister in the succession. The trio, affectionately known to their parents as the 'Triple A's', have been given as normal a life as possible, away from the media spotlight.

The hypothetical birth of a son to the royal couple would not alter the succession line, as since 1983 men and women have been given equal rights to the throne in the Netherlands. As it stands, fourth in line after Willem-Alexander and Maxima's all-girl brood is Prince Constantijn.

Willem-Alexander's second brother, Prince Johan Friso, is not part of the Dutch succession having married his wife Princess Mabel without the required permission of the Dutch Parliament. Prince Friso is currently in a coma following a tragic off-piste skiing accident whcih took place in February 2012. 

 

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Queen Beatrix's second son was caught up in an avalanche whilst on holiday with his wife Mabel and their two daughters in Austria. The royal has made little progress since the accident, much to the distress of his family and country.   

For the time being, Maxima and Willem-Alexander, who will become King Willem-Alexander upon his inauguration, will remain in their home Wassenaar Eikenhorst, but will later transfer to Huis ten Bosch royal Palace in The Hague "when it is suitable", according to a statement released by the Dutch Parliament.

Whilst their move date date is currently unknown, the sprawling property will still be used as the venue for receptions and other official events. Queen Beatrix, whose title will change to Princess Beatrix, will also be relocating and will call castle Drakensten Lage Vurrrche her home from April 30 onwards, the date her son officially becomes king.

The castle, which was Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus' first residence together, has recently undergone a major renovation.

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The reshuffle will give Princess Amalia the chance to start training for her role as the heir to the Dutch throne. The blonde princess started her schooling in December 2007 and is already thriving. She enrolled in Bloemcamp public school in Wassenaar, where she is learning Spanish and English and actively takes part in judo, hockey and horse riding.

As with her wedding, Maxima's parents will not attend Willem-Alexander's inauguration in April due to her father's former role as an agriculture minister in the epoch of Argentina's military dictatorship.

Diederik Samson, leader of the Dutch Socialist Party, has shown his support for incoming Queen's delicate choice. He said: "This is a decision of the royal family and because of the sensitivity of this issue I understand it has been taken.

"I'm glad that this issue has been solved in this way and that ends the discussion interminable whether the father of the Princess would be welcomed in an official ceremony given his past."

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