All eyes on new king as he makes his first speech from the throne

King Willem-Alexander will take centre stage at today’s 2014 budget presentation when he makes his debut speech from the throne in front of ministers, MPs, senators and other officials.

The speech, largely written by the prime minister’s team, outlines government policy for the coming year, much of which has been already leaked.

However, Willem-Alexander is the first king to make the speech in 126 years and today is also the first time a queen – Máxima – will sit next to a reigning monarch.

Commentators are already speculating what sort of presentation the new king will give.

‘I think we will notice the difference with the first words,’ Leiden University language professor Marc van Oostendorp told Trouw. ‘Willem-Alexander has a much less distant, royal sound than his mother.’

Procession

Tuesday’s events begin with the arrival of the golden coach at the parliamentary complex in the centre of The Hague at 13.00 hours. The speech will be given in the Ridderzaal (knights’ chamber) where the hats of female guests are usually the centre of attention.

After the king’s speech, MPs will adjourn to the lower house where finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem will present his briefcase containing the first budget (Miljoenennota) drawn up by Mark Rutte’s second government. Much of the contents, including next year’s economic forecasts, have already been leaked.

Then at 16.00, the minister and his deputy Frans Weekers will answer questions from the press.

This evening, Nos television will broadcast the first post-budget parliamentary debate, featuring the leaders of the six biggest parties in parliament.

MPs will begin debating the budget in parliament next week. General finances will dominate the first two days of debating, with different ministries taking centre stage in subsequent weeks.

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