Some 4.6 million of the Dutch population of nearly 17 million watched last night’s televised interview with prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima, according to audience research figures.
In the interview, the couple spoke about their lives, about Willem-Alexander becoming king and about the way forward for the Dutch monarchy.
The interview took place at the Huis ten Bosch palace, queen Beatrix’ formal offices, and, say commentators, the couple came over as self-assured and relaxed.
During the interview Willem-Alexander said he had no problem if the Netherlands moved towards a purely ceremonial monarchy.
His future role is continuing to build on the tradition of his predecessors. ‘It is a tradition which represents the continuity of this country and its stability. But I also want to be a king who can unite people in the 21st century,’ the future king said.
If people wanted to move away from this, the prince said he accepted everything, as long as it was a democratic decision in accordance with the constitution. ‘That is what I am king for and if something has to be signed, I will do it,’ he said.
The previous government reduced the role of the monarch in forming a new government and there had been speculation the prince wanted a more active role as head of state.
Not a number
Asked why he did not want to be named king Willem IV, the prince laughed and said he did not want to be a number. ‘Willem 4 is in a field, next to Bertha 38,’ he said, referring to the way cows are named and registered.
The couple said they had been aware of the queen’s abdication plans for a year and watched her broadcast to the nation together with their three daughters. ‘It was a very emotional moment, as it probably was for everyone,’ Máxima said.
Their oldest daughter, and future queen, Amalia is well aware of her future role, Willem-Alexander said: ‘She has already asked how many years I plan to do it… I can probably put a date in my diary now.’
A viewers’ panel after the broadcast was positive about the role of the future king and queen.
Nine out of ten said they think Willem-Alexander will make a good king, and 30% think he will do a better job than his mother. And 93% expect Máxima will be a good queen. Her title is a courtesy one as wife of the king.
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