“Natuurlijk ben je de Koning, maar je bent ook een mens.”
“Of course you’re King, but you’re human as well.”
On Wednesday evening, five million people watched the interview on television with our future King and Queen. Apparently they passed their first test, because the reactions were unanimously positive.
Compare these reactions to 33 years ago when Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus took over from Queen Juliana and Prince Bernard. No, in general the Dutch were not extremely happy with their new sovereign. Fortunately Queen Beatrix turned out to have an excellent and flawless performance. Not an easy example for Willem Alexander to follow.
And yet, in the interview Willem Alexander and Maxima came across as two confident people who had strong replies to questions that were not easy to answer. No subject was left uncovered: the unfortunate holiday villa in Mozambique (‘every human is allowed to make mistakes’), the matter of Maxima’s Argentinian father (‘don’t mix private life with constitutional matters’), a possible ceremonial role of the king (‘no problem if democratically achieved’).
But the most interesting statements in the interview had to do with the King’s personal view of life and kingship. Here is an interesting snippet from the interview, loosely translated into English:
Willem-Alexander: “Of course you’re King, but you’re human as well. And you also have emotions and feelings and sometimes you have to express them, or you cannot really be yourself. Most importantly you have to remain authentic. If you’re not authentic, then you cannot carry out your task properly.”
Maxima: “I think, he has always remained the way he is so far. And that won’t change. And he is someone who’s very close to people, who really likes to have a lot of contact with people. [To Willem-Alexander.] And that’s what inspires you. And that will remain the same.”
Interviewer: What advice did your mother give you?
Willem-Alexander: “Remain yourself, steer a straight course and try not to trim your sails according to all popular blasts of wind, for you’ll regret that. If you’re authentic and remain yourself and your attitude is clear, then you can go on like this for a long time.”
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