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Henri M. 08-27-2006 05:40 AM

Your thoughts about (Dutch) Abdications
 
It is thought that late Queen Elizabeth and the present Queen Elizabeth II did disapprove the 'trend' of abdications in the House of Orange-Nassau and the House of Nassau. In essence they seem to find that a Sovereign has made a vow and that man should not break that vow (by abdicating).

In the case of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962) I find that a bit injustified: she was Queen for 58 years. Longer than Queen Elizabeth II now. She started her Reign in the victorian era, saw WWI, saw the thrones of so many monarchies collapse in 1918, saw the deep depression of the 1930, saw WWII and finally in 1948 she abdicated in favour of her daughter Princess Juliana. She was tired. The Netherlands were again engaged in two bloody conflicts in the East Indies. She thought the nation needed younger and stronger hands to be guided.




In the case of Queen Juliana (1909-2004), who abdicated after a Reign of 'just' 32 years, it was more her personal decision. On the eve of the abdication Queen Juliana spoke to the Kingdom via radio and television. She became very personal and stated: "When I, by my constitutional oath, swore loyalty to the Netherlands people, I used the words "So help me God almighty". I have experienced that He did so, but how, that remains my secret".

In the 1990 the old Queen more and more disappeared out of the public and in 1999 she publicized an open letter in which she made known that 'due to my advanced age' it was no longer possible for her to accept invitations and to reply on post directed to her.

Since then it became silent around her. She became invisible. Darkness has fallen in her life. She wandered in the twilight zone. Unreachable for her beloved ones. Princess Juliana once translated a Norwegian hymn for her mother and her words were prophetic:
Today the sun shines into my soul, darkness has gone,
and Heaven and earth smile towards me,
because Jesus is my light'.

I feel a bit annoyed that sometimes (British) posters label Queen Juliana's abdication as 'weak', in comparison with Queen Elizabeth's steadfast remaining long Reign. But not everyone is blessed with such a strong physique or psyche as Queen Elizabeth. I feel Queen Juliana never wanted to rob her daughter from her happy years with Prince Claus and her family. I'm convinced she felt that she would decline and maybe she had another idea about public suffering than the late Pope Johannes Paulus II.



Willem I of Orange-Nassau, King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Abdicated: 1840
Reign: 27 years
Age of abdication: 68 years

Marie-Adelaide of Nassau, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Abdicated: 1919
Reign: 7 years
Age of abdication: 25 (she abdicated and became a Carmelite nun)

Wilhelmina of Orange-Nassau, Queen of the Netherlands
Abdicated: 1948
Reign: 58 years
Age of abdication: 68 years

Charlotte of Nassau, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Abdicated: 1964
Reign: 45 years
Age of abdication: 68 years

Juliana of Orange-Nassau, Queen of the Netherlands
Abdicated: 1980
Reign: 32 years
Age of Abdication: 71 years

Jean of Nassau, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Abdicated: 2000
Reign: 36 years
Age of abdication: 79 years

What are your thoughts on the 'custom' of abdicating instead of remaining the Sovereign until death?

Pictures are are from the Luxembourgian government website and from the Eindhovens Dagblad archives and bucketed via my webspace.

Madame Royale 08-27-2006 06:00 AM

Interesting question Henri M and I'm sure its one that shall spark much debate.

My view on abdication is this...

I support those who feel it right and in the best interests of their country, subjects & themselves. And to date, I think that has been the case.

betina 08-27-2006 06:02 AM

I heard that when Juliana abdicated the response from Elizabeth was "That so typical dutch"

Madame Royale 08-27-2006 06:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by betina
I heard that when Juliana abdicated the response from Elizabeth was "That so typical dutch"

I'm sure it was just "Typical Dutch" (I think.lol.)

Marcus25 08-27-2006 06:40 AM

Hi, I am new member (from the UK) and this is my first post. I have read some fascinating threads over the past few weeks and have very much enjoyed the many photos etc. My No. 1 interest (for more than 15 years now) is the Dutch RF in particular Queen Beatrix, although the Swedish RF comes a close second. Anyway back to the post from Henri re: abdication. Personally I feel that there is value in monarchs reigning for life. It is after all what sets them apart from term limited presidents. There were debates over the years in the UK as to when and if and should QEII would step down and the resounding response from the Palace has always been 'never'. Interestingly, since the death of the Queen Mother and QEII advancing years nobody is talking about it anymore. People here seem to appreciate her more now and seem to like the idea of having an 'old' Queen and one who has reigned for so long. Abdication therefore is not on the public agenda and is will not be considered by QEII. Perhaps the main reason is that QEII was crowned and annointed and that she really does consider herself to have been consecrated into the role and have made an unbreakable vow. Therefore it is a 'position' for life in her eyes. Perhaps in The Netherlands and Luxembourg the 'civil' nature of the inauguration/installation means the monarch feels less constrained to 'stay on for life' as it is essentially a constitutional ceremony and not a religeous one (although the ceremony in the Nieuwe Kerk is after the UK Coronation the next most splendid enthronement in Europe I think) Should QEII fall ill or become in some way incapacitated then she might remove herself from her constitutional role and allow for a Regency Act to be passed upon which the PoW would become Prince Regent, she would however remain Queen and titular Head of State. Personally I think that the value of a monarch increases with age and experience and many British monarchs reached the zenith of thier popularity, respect and constitutional usefulness towards the end of thier lives. e.g. Victoria, Edward VII, George V and that would be lost if they were to have stepped down at 65 or 70. I do feel that The Netherlands lost out somehow when Queen Juliana abdicated. She proved to have many years ahead of her (most of which were spent in good health) She was hugely experienced and the most remarkable woman and monarch.I think her reign ended far too soon. That said Queen Beatrix is carrying out her role superbly. I hope she will carry on for many years to come and not feel under any pressure to follow her mother and grandmother's example too soon. I am sure W-A is in no hurry to take over. Anyway this is my first contribution, I hope it isn't too long!

Madame Royale 08-27-2006 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus25
Anyway this is my first contribution, I hope it isn't too long!

I'm only a "couple of days old" myself Marcus so from one newbie to another, welcome :flowers:

Mandrake 08-27-2006 08:54 AM

The perception of a ‘monarchy’ seems to be very different in the Netherlands than in Great Britain. In the Netherlands the Oranges have for centuries held the high post of stadholder; in essence an administrative job. Nobody in the Netherlands wanted to have a king in those days. It was only during and after the Napoleonic era and the congress of Vienna that the Dutch people finally accepted that they were to be ruled by a king.

This king wasn’t to be crowned. King William I ruled over a country that was very divided by different religions. The Protestants wouldn’t accepted it when their king was to be crowned by a catholic bishop, and the Catholics wouldn’t have accepted it when the king was to be crowned by a protestant referent. So William I and his successors were only inaugurated by parliament.
This makes that Kingship in the Netherlands always had a sort of administrative character.

And this makes it easier for monarchs to retire. People in the Netherlands nowadays feel it is normal that their king/queen retires after a long period on the throne. A new person on the throne means fresh energy, appeal to a younger generation, and a chance for the abdicated monarch to relax and enjoy the last part of his/her life. All this is not possible when the old queen dies and the new king is already in his sixties.
So different countries different traditions. :flowers:

srivishnu 08-27-2006 10:29 AM

Abdication is not a good solution to personal problems such as to marry a loved one.For an example,King Edward VIII who abdicated in order to marry a twice divorced American,Wallis Simpson.A future monarch or heir to the throne should be dedicated,faithful and loyal to his or her future role.Besides,he or she should keep to his or her oath or promise made during his or her coronation that he or she will reign until his or her last drop of blood.To my opinion,to abdicate in favour of his or her son or daughter shows that the current Head of State is timid and coward to reign in times of good and bad.Moreover,abdication could trigger a crisis in the country as well as the impression on the royal family and the country would drop in the eye of the public locally as well as internationally.So my advise to all current monarch and future Head of State is that,rule until your last breath unless you are unwell.If you plan to abdicate think of the late King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth II of Britain whom is a very good example of monarch that never abdicated in favour of anything and anyone.

bbb 08-27-2006 12:19 PM

i love and admire Queen Beatrix, she's a lovely, generous, giving human being. She is a wonderful Queen, if she feels like its time to abdicate for the good of her country, i will give her the respect of not questioning her decision. imo the lady deserves to enjoy her life after losing her beloved husband it would be hard not to have "bad days" and the burdens must seem much heavier when your heart is so sad. she can continue to contribute her time and energy to her country but not with such heavy cares on her shoulder. nothing will diminish my admiration of this lady.

Jo of Palatine 08-27-2006 12:55 PM

I think in our times each change of a monarch means putting the whole concept of a monarchy in the respective country to the test. It's not just Australia which might select a new way as a republic but other countries where queen Elisabeth II. is monarch might as well decide that they don't want Charles as new monarch. So IMHO it's understandible that most Royal regents and heirs might not want to test the waters prematurely. OTOH it could be that out of respect with the still living ex-monarch people stay quiet even though they would have prefered not to get a new monarch...

It's difficult to say. But being monarch IMHO has a lot to do with being in constant service for the people of one's country and it's a very individual thing to decide when enough is enough.

sara1981 08-27-2006 03:24 PM

no matter for HM Queen Beatrix would getting abdications anytimes because she been head of state for 26 years since she become Queen of the Netherlands in 1980 before i was born and she celebration of her become Queen on 25 years.

HM Queen Elizabeth II never have abdications because she still in good health for years i dont understand why! but i read royalist about she would get abdications one days because Prince Charles or Prince William will become king one days no matter which chose right King in the public and most people want Prince William become King than his dad the Prince Charles.

mostly royals house who wanted become head of house when parents died and kept palace for years like Prince Albert who replace for his dad the Prince Rainier who died in April 2005 and Prince Albert acceptance to become head of state few month after his dad's funeral.

and some who have siblings as head of states like that

Marcus25 08-27-2006 03:27 PM

Thank you!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Madame Royale
I'm only a "couple of days old" myself Marcus so from one newbie to another, welcome :flowers:

Thanks Madame! Much appreciated.

Marengo 08-27-2006 05:57 PM

Well Queen Wilhelmina spends much thought on this matter in her memoires ´Lonely but not alone´. She said that even as a child she was fascinated by the abdication of Emperor Charles V. At first she found it cowardism, not doing his duty etc. But later in life she started to admire him for the wisdom of his decision.

In overall I think that for a present monarchy abdications can be a healthy thing. Demographics show that the average age for people to die is around 80, which means that ´new´ monarchs will averagely ´start´ around their 60th birthday, so at an age where normal perople retire and your energies are getting less. Add to that that the heir will be in waiting for such a long part of his life which must be a bit frustrating to.

Of course any monarch can decide for him/herself but I prefer the abdication-scenario for my country at least.

To shrivishnu: no abdication of any european monarch will put a country to crisis, European democracies are strong enough to handle such things and the monarchies have lost most of their political powers. Neither did for example Luxembourg drop in the regard of the world when Grand Duke Jean abdicated.

-

and welcome to Marcus25 :)

juliana 08-27-2006 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Henri M.
It is thought that late Queen Elizabeth and the present Queen Elizabeth II did disapprove the 'trend' of abdications in the House of Orange-Nassau and the House of Nassau. In essence they seem to find that a Sovereign has made a vow and that man should not break that vow (by abdicating).
.

Who does that sort of thinking Henri? Where does that notion of yours come from? The disapproval of abdication in The Netherlands is irrelevant to anyone outside of that country; if the monarchs wish to abdicate then that is their choice and the circumstances around it are theirs. BTW Wilhelmina was only 10 years old when she became Queen and only 68 when she abdicated. 68 years old today is only the latter part of middle age:lol:.

Queen Elizabeth would not hold such conversations about abdication with anyone that would repeat them publically but she herself has stated publically that she will continue as Queen even as times are changing and she accepts that she has to move along with the changes too.

Coronations in the UK are a religous ceremony and as a religious person that anointing is impossible to discard. There will be other legal methods to help the British Queen if she feels her strength declining but she will be Queen until she dies. I don't know how Dutch monarchs are crowned -is it a religous ceremony? Or is it like the other European monarchs and quite insignificant. Those are actually more like presidential appointing ceremonies, with little religious substance- and presidents only have power for a limited amount of time.

The Edward Vlll abdication created a crisis in the UK at the time but it had had no impact on The Netherlands and if The Netherlands wishes to change monarchs that is their prerogative.

Thomas Parkman 08-27-2006 08:27 PM

Queen Beatrix is one quite capable, intelligent and wise individual. So she is 68. In this day and age that is not all that old. To deprive the kingdom of the immense experience and ability prematurely would not be a wise thing to do at all. As for poor Charles. He is blamed for so much. He may very well surprise everybody and turn out to be a very good kind indeed. As for Beatrix, in the words of the old southern (USA) adage, if it ain't broke why fix it? Good people, if it ain't broke why end or replace it. Cheers.

srivishnu 08-27-2006 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marengo
Well Queen Wilhelmina spends much thought on this matter in her memoires ´Lonely but not alone´. She said that even as a child she was fascinated by the abdication of Emperor Charles V. At first she found it cowardism, not doing his duty etc. But later in life she started to admire him for the wisdom of his decision.

In overall I think that for a present monarchy abdications can be a healthy thing. Demographics show that the average age for people to die is around 80, which means that ´new´ monarchs will averagely ´start´ around their 60th birthday, so at an age where normal perople retire and your energies are getting less. Add to that that the heir will be in waiting for such a long part of his life which must be a bit frustrating to.

Of course any monarch can decide for him/herself but I prefer the abdication-scenario for my country at least.

To shrivishnu: no abdication of any european monarch will put a country to crisis, European democracies are strong enough to handle such things and the monarchies have lost most of their political powers. Neither did for example Luxembourg drop in the regard of the world when Grand Duke Jean abdicated.

-

and welcome to Marcus25 :)

When Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated in favour of his love it did indeed plunge Britain into a succession crisis at that time but it did not affect Netherlands in any way.

azile 08-27-2006 09:05 PM

I think we're talking about several different kinds of abdications here and it's really not fair to compare Wilhelmina and Julianna's abdications with Edward VIII.

I think there is some potential value in abdication in favour of one's child heir:
  • A new monarch is able to settle into their role with the support of their parent. No matter how much preparation and nurturing happens for future monarchs, there is no experience like actually being in the role. Having a someone who understands the job (and the transition into the job) through firsthand experience is an invaluable resource.
  • A new monarch can make the transition to being King or Queen without having to simultaneously deal with personal grief of loosing their parent. The nation can also do the same- transition then is a joyful one not marred by grief and loss.
  • Parents can enjoy the coronation and transitions of their children into the role of monarch. They can offer guideance and share in the joy that surrounds crowning a new monarch and seeing children reach their pinacle in life.
  • Older monarchs can enjoy a much deserved retirement (with a public role if they choose) and not be pressured with the burden of work until the day they die. If health concerns arise, they can experience them privately with lessened intrusion by the press. In this way, the public can "thank" them with a relief of duty.
  • The monarchy is infused with new energy and ideas as more youthful monarchs come to the throne. Monarchs are less out-of-touch and out-of-date.
  • "Retiring" monarchs can actually receive thanks from their nation- the outpourings of affection and gratitude that pour out usually during a funeral- and have an opportunity to reciprocate this emotion
I find it fascinating that the Dutch people's immense love for their Royal Family has not been lessened by the abdications of the last two Queens.

Of course, abdication is not "Traditional" and in Britain, it carries memories to a very negative experience. Maybe in modern times, it's time for modern measures and modern monarchs.

Azile

juliana 08-27-2006 10:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by azile1710
I think we're talking about several different kinds of abdications here and it's really not fair to compare Wilhelmina and Julianna's abdications with Edward VIII.

I think the reason Edward VIII was mentioned was because of the first sentences in the thread containing a controversial statement about the British royals being supposedly disapproving of the Dutch abdications. If that were the truth, and of course unless we mix with royals we do not know what the Queens said, then the Edward abdication crisis would have to be referred to in defence of any so called "thought" and "disapproval".

bbb 08-28-2006 10:57 AM

very well said azile thank you

BeatrixFan 08-28-2006 11:09 AM

As said before, Queen Elizabeth II frowns on abdication. The comment "Typical Dutch" was relayed by her former press secretary on a programme about the Golden Jubilee. He said he telephoned her early in the morning and said, "Your Majesty's cousin Queen Juliana of the Netherlands has abdicated". The Queen said, "Typical Dutch" and put the phone down. I think she sees abdication as a betrayal of the oath that monarchs take and maybe with Elizabeth, it's alot about faith too. I do agree with her but sometimes, abdication works for the best. In Juliana's case it certainly did. In the case of Edward VIII - well that's something I'm still not sure of.


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