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The Other Orange Team11 July 2010 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
Queen Victoria produced beautiful drawings of her children. She didn’t advertise this, she didn’t organise any exhibitions of her work, but what she did do was encourage the arts. She and Albert commissioned many artists.
There are, however, quite a few modern day Royal Highnesses who think that they are artists, architects, writers or bankers. This is a misunderstanding.
During the Football World Cup, the Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander, and his wife Princess Máxima, enthusiastically cheered on the national team from the stands. The whole stadium was coloured orange. There is no better example of person and position being one and the same. Marvellous!
For this they are paid respectively 1,376,000 Euros (Willem-Alexander) and 624,000 (Máxima), tax free. Of course, the major part of their allowance goes towards personnel costs: uniforms, decorations, ball dresses, shoes and handbags, but according to official figures this leaves them each with 248,000 to spend on an ice cream.
I don’t mind just as long as they won’t aspire to holding down a regular job as well. The Dutch Crown Prince is actually also on the board of the Bank of The Netherlands, and Princess Máxima is special UN Microfinance Advisor.
Willem-Alexander is a good guy and Máxima is delightful, but really, they are employed to cheer, console and promote the armed forces, sports, commerce and the arts.
Whenever royalty thinks that they have a professional skill, you have the makings of a problem. Think, for example, of Prince Charles, self-proclaimed expert on architecture, and the wrecking of a major development designed by world famous architect Lord Rogers.
Willem-Alexander once studied history with average results but now he makes decisions about how to handle our money. Máxima deals with micro finance for people without any cash who want to start a business. Maybe her advice is to marry a rich man, a small investment which pays a huge dividend. We have taken to calling her Princess Micro-Máxima.
Besides her there is a Princess called Laurentien, who is married to Constantijn, the youngest son of Queen Beatrix. The spare Queen almost collapses under her acquired grandeur. She concerns herself with illiterate people in The Netherlands.
In principle it is a good cause but no need to go overboard. But no, a children’s book gets published under the pen name of Laurentien van Oranje and she plays at being the chairman of a major literary prize. In short, she is involved in everything related to language, provided it is prestigious.
Before you know it, she enters a hall and greets the audience in her over-the-top posh voice: ‘Hello Illiterates.’ The Dutch Red Cross, whose patron is Aunt Margriet (sister of Queen Beatrix), runs a ship which provides holidays for the sick and disabled. I am sure that Laurentiens’s aim is to have a ship named: The Princess Laurentien, a ship that provides a journey along the Rhine for poor illiterate people.
If we are not careful, we will find ourselves hosting the 2028 Olympic Games for Illiterates.
I very much miss Princess Diana. She thought she wasn’t good at anything. Actually she was right, but she could encourage initiatives, for example collecting money for aids victims or bringing the clearing of landmines to our attention. She did this through her charm and her fame and not by pretending to be an expert, just cuddling a baby or looking at us with her huge eyes from under a helmet was quite enough.
Her sons seem to want to walk in her footsteps and their grandmother Queen Elizabeth has set a good example throughout her life. Her claim to fame is: having repaired a car in war time all by herself. Besides, she doesn’t share her opinions with us and she is the world champion of ribbon-cutting.
The Dutch Royal Family seems quite doomed. Oh dear, that’s goodbye to my name on the Queen’s Birthday honour. Still the question remains: What to do with Prince Charles? The King of Sweden, who only carries out ceremonial duties, would say: ‘Skål!’ (Cheers!).
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
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