Such is my life: I go out to lunch and find myself looking at our Dutch king in a golden carriage! Ah, such a privileged life to be able to brush with royalty…!
Why did I run into the king you ask? Well, it’s “Prinsjesdag” (“Prince’s Day”) today here in The Netherlands and on Prinsjesdag the Dutch King Willem-Alexander delivers a speech to parliament about the government’s plans for the coming year. Wikipedia can explain it better than I can.
The Dutch parliament is in The Hague and right now I work in an office that is basically just around the corner from the parliament. Before the king delivers his speech, there’s a procession where he and his wife, Queen Maxima, ride in a golden carriage to the parliament building. The route of that procession passed right in front of my office! I didn’t even realize that would be the case until I came into the office this morning and found the street was gated in readiness for the procession. So, naturally my colleagues and I went to take a look in our lunch break. I only had my phone with me to take pictures, so the pictures aren’t great, but hey, I was there!
There was a marching band:
This is one of the horse regiments that passed us by:
And then the king’s brother came by in a carriage and his brother’s wife, princess Laurentien, waved at us:
And here’s the blurry golden carriage with the blurry king in it!
Here are some better photos of the day that I found online. King Willem-Alexander and his wife (Argentinian born) Queen Maxima (wearing, I might add, a gorgeous dress):
This is the old parliament building; way at the back on the left you see chimneys and somewhere there is where my office is:
The king during the speech, with his wife by his side:
Overview picture of the king adressing members of parliament and other guests:
So, there you have it, my brush with royalty! It wasn’t my first brush with royalty, however. I ran into the king once before when he was still crown prince. His daughter and my daughter are the same age (just 12 days apart) and we once saw them in a pancake restaurant when my daughter was 2 or 3 years old. I was accompanying my daughter back from the bathroom while the then-prince’s daughter (he was holding her hand) was heading out. The girls were the same size and were very interested in each other while passing each other, but the prince pressed on and so did I, so the girls only looked. Afterwards, my daughter sat in the high chair that had just been vacated by the little princess! A butt-brush with royalty, if you like.
I also ran into the king’s brother once; he is now married to Laurentien who waved at us from her carriage today. When I was a student in Leiden he also studied there. In the Netherlands everyone bikes and as I was biking to class one day I came out of a narrow, old alley and virtually biked into the prince, basically parking my bike between his legs! I didn’t really know who he was, he was with someone else and seemed eager to move on, so I quickly apologized and biked on. He did look vaguely familiar to me, however, and it was only later that I found out why when I saw his picture (a family picture) on the cover of a royalty magazine! If it had been Hollywood, this would have been a ‘meet-cute’ in a romantic movie and I could have ended up a princess instead of Laurentien… But pomp and circumstance aren’t so much for me. Thankfully real life happened and I met my husband instead. 🙂