Royal friends

Amsterdam’s Parool carried an intriguing story yesterday claiming that Queen Beatrix had intervened directly in the current cabinet formation process.


The paper says Beatrix personally phoned Christian Democrat stalwart Herman Wijffels and asked him to take on the job of fleshing out a coalition agreement. Wiffels works at the World Bank in Washington.
The paper says the Queen’s phone call is extremely unusual. In the past, such an approach would always be made by senior civil servants, followed by a letter from the Queen.
However, the Parool points out that Wijffels and Beatrix know each other well and that he is often a guest at her Huis ten Bosch palace. And getting time off was not a problem either, the paper says. Wijffels’ boss Paul Wolfowitz is also a regular visitor.
Wijffels was just one of several candidates identified to lead the coalition talks, the paper says. But the discussion on who would be chosen was over once Beatrix intervened.