Opinion: The last trip? (Royal Visit)

POSTED: 11/2/11 11:58 AM

Official visits by H.M. Queen Beatrix have a tendency to degenerate into speculations about her possible abdication. The current trip to the Caribbean is no exception. This could very well be the last trip she makes as the Queen, we hear around us. Someone who certainly made the impression of having access to privileged information knew for sure that the queen was going to abdicate by the end of the year. Never mind that this would fall smack in the middle of the festive season with stuff like Christmas and New Year going on.

Truth be told: nobody knows what will and what will not happen in the foreseeable future. Soothsayers are looking at landmark moments, like the year when Her Majesty will turn 75 (that would be in 2013). Why not choose April 27, 2017 instead? That’s the day when crown-prince Willem-Alexander turns 50. Certainly, the Queen will be able to soldier on a couple of years more?

The Netherlands is rather fond of surveys, and they’ve had one already in April. The results were published two days before the celebration of the Queen’s birthday. And guess what? The Volkskrant reported that 60 percent of the participants in the survey (which is definitely something else than 60 percent of the whole population) said that the Queen ought to abdicate within two years. She should hand the throne to Willem-Alexander in 2013, when she turns 75.

The Dutch are not fond of dropping their monarchy altogether and exchange it for a republic. Almost 90 percent of the participants in the survey said that they support the monarchy. Two thirds said that the power the Queen has now is exactly right and just three out of ten participants think that the Queen should not have any legal influence at all.

The authors of the survey also threw in a few trivial pursuit questions. This is how they found out that almost 90 percent knows why the Queen’s birthday is celebrated on April 30. According to the Volkskrant this reason is that April 30 was the birthday of the Queen’s mother, Juliana. That sounds a bit like an explanation from the nuthouse, so we’d like to add the real reason: Her Majesty’s actual birthday is on January 31. And it’s too damn cold on that date to celebrate a royal birthday in any meaningful way outside, at least not in the Netherlands.

However, when we consider the things people do on the day the queen celebrates her birthday with her denizens, the celebration may as well take place in January, or in Alaska. Most people prefer to celebrate by watching the celebration on their TV. What kind of celebration is that?

All the same the popularity of the celebration is waning and the number of people that completely ignores it is on the rise. This April, 19 percent said that it would do nothing to celebrate the queen’s birthday. Two years ago, this percentage stood at 15. At this pace, King Willem-Alexander may be celebrating his 84th  birthday all alone in 2051.


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