Live blog: Queen’s Day and the investiture as they happened

Follow the events of Queen’s Day and the investiture of king Willem-Alexander as they happen. For the full programme see: abdication, investiture, party.


The boat pageant is over, the F16s did their fly past and the King’s Ball is in full swing on the Museumplein. The Daily Mail has a great collection of the day in photographs. The live blog is closing down.


Olympic equestrian champion Anke van Grunsven – one of the heralds during the investiture – says she had no problem standing still for 1 1/2 hours during the ceremony.


The party in Amsterdam is in full swing. But if you want to cross the IJ to Amsterdam Noord to watch this evening’s boat pageant, you’ve got 15 minutes left to do so, says website Let us know what you are up to this Queen’s Day via our Facebook page.


Photo: Novum

And it’s over… the exit from the Nieuwe Kerk will take place in strict order… there is applause and the chairman says ‘I close the meeting’. Everyone will now leave the church and head to the palace for a reception.


The three little princess lead the procession of other royals back to the palace, smiling and waving at the crowd.


As a choir sings, the new king and queen leave the church, hand in hand, Maxima smiling, Willem-Alexander looking solemn. Nos loses the sound temporarily. Then the church bells begin. The king and queen walk across the blue carpet from the church – Willem-Alexander raises a slight smile.


Long live the king, hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, and the swearing-in bit is over.


Now the dull bit. All members of the lower and upper houses of parliament stand up and swear their allegiance to the king and constitution. Those who are not religious – many of the men not in ties – say ‘I promise’. Those who are religious raise their right arm and two fingers, and say they will do so ‘with the help of almighty God.’

The list is alphabetical order. All but 16 of the 225 MPs and senators will swear the oath.


Fred de Grave, chairman of the upper house of parliament, welcomes king Willem-Alexander, with a word to his daughter, princess Amalia, who gives a shy smile.


Photo: Novum

Willem-Alexander says how happy he is with the support of his wife and that she is happy to give her services to his kingship

They all stand and Willem-Alexander swears to ‘uphold and maintain the constitution and defend the independence of the kingdom with all his powers – as a good and faithful king should do.’


Willem-Alexander continues his speech… it is, of course, in Dutch. What do the foreign guests make of it all? ‘As king I want to encourage people to make the most of the opportunities they have,’ he said. ‘I will represent the kingdom with pride.. I want to unite the Dutch, in times of happiness and in times of sadness.’


There is applause from everyone for the queen, as Willem-Alexander ends. She keeps a straight face, but it is emotional.


Willem-Alexander addresses the meeting as the new king, outlining his role as king in a democracy. He quotes his mother, and talks about her 33 years as queen. ‘She stood for the values anchored in the constitution,’ he said. ‘Dear mother, you were queen in full knowledge of the duties you had… you were also a wife and mother, and you were fully aware of your duties there too… you were a great support to us all.’


Willem-Alexander and Máxima take their place at the front of the church as the organ plays and everyone sings the national anthem. Apart from the foreign guests, of course.


King Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima leave the palace, Willem-Alexander in the regal robe trimmed with ermine and Maxima in royal blue with a large tiara. Her dress is by Dutch designer Jan Taminiau. Her tiara was a present for queen Emma.


Five minutes until the new king and queen arrive… lots of whispering in the church and occasional comment from the Nos commentator. Perhaps some music might have been a good idea?


The members of the Dutch royal family leave the palace and walk across to the church, led by the three princesses, dressed in long blue dresses. They are followed by princess Beatrix in dark blue and Mabel, wearing Victor & Rolf, then the rest of the princesses and princes.


The ceremony takes the form of a meeting of the upper and lower houses of parliament. The meeting is now formally opened – and the ministers enter the church, led by prime minister Mark Rutte.


Japan’s crown prince and princess arrive at the church. According to the Nos, there are 80 Japanese journalists in town to cover this, because she is rarely seen in public.


The royal guests continue to arrive… the crown prince of UAE… at the same time, the prime minister and members of the cabinet are heading for the church. They are all walking along a purple, not red, carpet.


Prince Charles and Camilla, the Thai crown princess arrive in a dark blue mini-bus and are entering the church. Charles was at Beatrix’ investiture in 1980.


The guests are arriving at the Nieuwe Kerk for the investiture ceremony… still 40 minutes to go: José Manuel Barroso, Kofi Annan… they are being dropped off at the church by Connexxion bus.


The atmosphere in Utrecht, where the free market began on Monday night, is calm and good fun, website reports.


You can follow the programme of the day’s events here.

Police have apologised for arresting two anti-monarchy campaigners on the Dam. The two were released and taken to police HQ on the Waterlooplein, which has been set aside for republican demonstrators.


One royalty watcher tells she thought the abdication ceremony was beautiful but that Beatrix was a little cool. ‘I expected her to be a little warmer,’ she said. But the balcony scene was lovely, she added.


And that is it for the formal side of the ceremony until the official investiture in the Nieuwe Kerk at 14.00 this afternoon.


Willem-Alexander ushers the girls inside and they all disappear behind the curtain.


Beatrix fetches her granddaughters who wave at the crowd to cheers. Willem-Alexander kisses daughter Amalia on the cheek – she is now heir to the throne.

Princess Beatrix, Willem-Alexander and Máxima arrive on the balcony. She presents her son to the crowd and tells him ‘maybe we should wave a bit’, to cheers.

Willem-Alexander thanks his mother and the crowd for their support. Máxima holds tight to her mother-in-law’s hand. The national anthem plays.


They are done. The crowd cheers.  The queen checks everyone has signed. The ceremony is over.


The document is passed round the table for everyone present – the queen’s commissioners and ministers and representatives of the former colonies – to sign. It takes an age…



Beatrix smiles and takes her son’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

The queen signs the document and the crowd outside roars. Willem-Alexander signs and Máxima signs. More cheers from outside.


The royal family enter the room where ministers are waiting for the queen to sign the abdication document. Máxima is in a peach-coloured dress with a huge swirl on the shoulder, her three daughters in matching yellow dresses.

The queen welcomes everyone and there is a pause for laughter as a roar goes up from outside, where the crowds are watching the ceremony on a big screen.


Foreign minister Frans Timmerman waves at Nos television out of a palace window. He’s there to witness the abdication.


Crowds are gathering on Dam Square in order to get a good view of the royal family when they appear on the balcony at around 10.30. The queen will sign the document of abdication at 10.00 in front of witnesses, at which point Willem-Alexander will become king.

Some die-hard royalty fans spent the night there.


Amsterdam police say they arrested 70 people during the Queen’s Night celebrations – a similar number to last year. Fifteen people were arrested in an early-evening punch-up over a good place to sell during the free market. The fight took place at the junction of the Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht.

Rijksmuseum banquet.png

Queen Beatrix hosts a banquet in front of the Nightwatch. Photo: Novum

Queen Beatrix hosted a dinner for a number of VIPs at the Rijksmuseum on Tuesday evening. In her farewell address to the nation she spoke of her gratitude for the support given during her 33-year reign.

‘Without your heart-warming and encouraging displays of affection, the burdens, which certainly have existed, would have weighed heavily,’ the queen said.

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