Willem-Alexander tells Youp van ‘t Hek all about the big day over a few beers.
‘Of course it’s embarrassing’, the new king sighed over a flat beer. ‘The man who has removed the most bikes from Dam square with his garden shears so people were forced to collect them at some godforsaken place and pay ten euros for the privilege is getting a medal because he helped to make the royal substitution a success. It’s positively medieval.
And it’s sadder than sad that the New Republican Association oldie and that irritating girl with her placard were arrested by provincial plods because they wanted to do their bit against the monarchy.
But it’s sadder still that that mayor of yours only allowed people to protest if they had a throat condition and were more than 200 metres apart so they couldn’t make eye contact. Of course he knew that any form of protest would be nipped in the bud so he could leave no stone unturned later and send a bunch of flowers to the wrongfully arrested. Joop van den Ende said he wanted the flowers to be delivered by Gaston of the Postcode lottery because, after all, it sponsored most of the party. That mayor of yours is a socialist, isn’t he? Is he backing wobbly Samsom?
And talking of theatre: did you see the socialists singing the Internationale at the end of their conference? That first line did it: Stand up, damned of the earth. I knew then I would never be able to top that on the 30th. We could do whatever we liked. I quickly emailed my guests to put on as many decorations as they could find. I myself spent hours hunting for my Elfsteden cross. It was a lovely day.
The dinner underneath the Nightwatch was fun, too. I love that about my job: knowing that my disabled subjects can’t take their mobility scooters inside while sharing choice titbits with my colleagues underneath the world’s most expensive painting. Oh, the joys of power. The Japanese crown prince had to leave his wife at home. She’s liable to take a knife to a Vermeer after two drinks. And the Moroccan princess didn’t like my joke about leaving her with the washing-up. But, as I said, the day itself was lovely. That whole thing in the church: wasn’t it delightful? I may be a ceremonial king but it was nice to know Pechtold and his cronies had already been sitting there for two hours before I came in. There I was, the most beautiful woman in the world on my arm and there they were with their boring partners and a sore bum. Lovely.
The boat trip? That was long and cold. It was one of Joop’s bright ideas. I originally suggested the musical boat and the gay boat could be one single boat but he wouldn’t have it. Why we got off the boat? To tell Van Buuren the sound was off. The NOS hadn’t noticed. Joop did it all pro bono. He said so three times. But he did get to promote his Hazes musical on the Museumplein. I have to hand it to him though, because he showed Cyrano on the musical boat and that must surely be the biggest Dutch showbiz flop of all time.
Oh, and did I mention Amalia wants a First Rifle for her next birthday? She thinks she might need it the next time people start rapping at her. All in all I thought it went very well. And Youpie, stop telling people I earn too much. Granted, I get the combined salaries of your VARA friends Paul and Matthijs but I get bigger audiences in an hour than they do in a year. So put a sock in it. It was a great day. Let’s text the mayor and then get drunk.’
Youp van ‘t Hek is one of the Netherlands’best-loved comedians and writers.
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