Published On: Wed, Jan 30th, 2013

King Willem-Alexander will be inaugurated, not crowned

THE HAGUE – Queen Beatrix's decision to hand over the throne to her eldest son may have historical significance, but the actual process and ceremony is very simple.

On April 30, she will sign a document, the so-called act of abdication, after which Willem-Alexander automatically becomes king, although he still has to be inaugurated.

His oldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, will automatically become first in line to succeed him.

Willem-Alexander will be sworn in at the Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam, but it will be a secular, rather than a religious ceremony.

The inauguration takes the form of a meeting of the First and Second Chambers of the Dutch Parliament, as is set down in the Constitution. This means all Members of Parliament (MPs) will be there, as well a limited number of other guests.

The new king will then swear to be faithful to the Constitution and to fulfil his role properly.

The traditional signs of royalty, – the crown, sceptre and orb –, as well as the Kingdom's sword symbolising the king's power, will be laid out in front of Willem-Alexander, together with a copy of the Constitution. But the crown will not be placed on his head and is never worn.

After the king's pledge, all 225 members of the First and Second Chambers will individually swear their allegiance to the new monarch.

The new king, who will be known as King Willem-Alexander, will then appear on the balcony of the royal palace on Amsterdam's Dam Square to meet his people.

Given the fact that the inauguration deliberately coincides with Queen's Day, it is not yet clear what the implications for the city centre's celebrations will be.

It is also the last time Queen's Day will be celebrated on April 30. From 2014, the name will change to King's Day as it will switch to Willem-Alexander's birthday on April 27.

After the inauguration, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be visiting all 12 provinces in The Netherlands, government information service RVD announced Tuesday.

The royal couple will be visiting the Caribbean part of the Kingdom within one year after the inauguration, it was said.

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