King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands' birthday: 10 facts about the royal

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King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands turns 48 on Monday, and in honour of the Dutch monarch's birthday, HELLO! Online has gathered a list of ten facts you not have known about the popular royal, who ascended the throne two years ago.

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King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands ascended the throne in 2013

1. The king was born on 27 April 1967 at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands, as the first child of Princess Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus. Upon birth, his official royal title was "His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands".

2. His arrival was greeted with huge celebrations across the Netherlands, as he was the first Dutch male royal baby to be born since Prince Alexander in 1851, and more importantly the first immediate male heir since Alexander's death in 1884.

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Princess Beatrix presents her eldest child, an eight-month-old Willem-Alexander

3. At the age of 48, he is currently Europe's second youngest monarch behind Spain's King Felipe, who is also a close friend.

4. In March 2001, the Dutch palace announced that Willem-Alexander was to marry Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, a former investment banker from Argentina. Just 11 months later in February 2002 the Dutch people rejoiced as the new royal couple married in a stunning ceremony at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

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Máxima and Willem-Alexander married in February 2002, just 11 months after announcing their engagement

5. Willem-Alexander became a father for the first time in December 2003, when his and Máxima's first baby, Princess Catharina-Amalia, was born. She was followed by Princess Alexia in June 2005 and Princess Ariane in April 2007. The prince joked that he and Máxima had chosen three names beginning with an A to get a triple A rating.

6. In January 2013 Queen Beatrix announced she would be abdicating in favour of Willem-Alexander, and three months later on 30 April, royals from around the world including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall gathered to mark the new king's investiture.

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The royal couple have three daughters, whose names all begin with the letter "A"

7. Although difficult to count with certainty, Willem-Alexander is in line to the British throne and just before his accession he was estimated to be 889th.

8. Since ascending to the throne, Willem-Alexander has made a conscious effort to greet as many Dutch people as possible. Speaking ahead of his investiture he insisted people could address him the "way they want".

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Willem-Alexander is a sports enthusiast, and is known to enjoy tennis, sailing and skiing

9. He is known to have a love of several sports including tennis, running, sailing, skiing and diving. He has expressed his support for the Netherlands to bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

10. The adventurous royal is also an active aircraft pilot, and to ensure he flies enough hours every year to retain his license he sometimes flies the Dutch Royal airplane.

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