COLOURFUL 25TH ANNIVERSARY FOR QUEEN BEATRIX:
2 MAY 2005
The Netherlands erupted into a sea of orange this weekend as the country's popular Queen Beatrix
, of the royal House of Orange, celebrated 25 years on the throne.
Hundreds of thousands poured onto the streets of the main towns on Saturday, sporting plastic crowns, decking canal boats with orange, and indulging in the tantalising tradition of trying to eat a cake on the end of a string without using hands. Crown Prince Willem-Alexander
, accompanied by his pregnant wife Maxima
, delighted the festive crowds when he donned a blindfold and attempted to get the bite on a dangling sweetmeat.
The 67-year-old queen herself, who recently garnered a 92 per cent approval rating, was out and about at several official and less formal events, including a special session of Parliament at which all the lawmakers were accompanied by a young man or woman born in 1980.
Beatrix was crowned on April 30, 1980 when her mother, Queen Juliana, surprised the nation by abdicating after more than 30 years on the throne. The current queen said in a rare interview last week that she is in no hurry to pass on the baton, preferring to give her son time "to build up his family" before he becomes king.
In the same interview, Beatrix, who has lost her mother, father and husband within the last three years, spoke of the loneliness of being a monarch. "You always have to be available – there is nobody who can take over from you once in a while," she observed.
The queen, whose no-nonsense approach and modern attitudes have won her huge popularity, was clearly in festive mood over the weekend, however, as she and her family hit the streets along with their fellow countrymen to celebrate the landmark date.