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Dear Willem-Alexander, Congratulations on your fifty-second birthday! You are only one year older than I am, and if you had repeated a class, we perhaps would have ended up in the same one.

by Rick van der Made - 27 April 2019

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A Letter to Our Birthday King

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

photo RvDI write “Dear King” as I think you are not a stickler to formality. A king who has Erwin Olaf make his official portraits has no problem with being addressed this way by another man. And I can still remember that I n2016 you honored gay interest group COC with a visit, so you certainly support our community.

In contrast to your mother, which I had the privilege of talking to on three occasions, I have never met you. I dared not informally approach your mother, although she did give me a jovial slap on the shoulder the second time, said: “Hey Rick, how is it going?” and even drew me a beer.

No, dear Willem-Alexander, I was only joking. Of course your mother does not pull beers.

I was afraid to be informal with your aunt Irene as well. She drinks white wine. I met her a long time ago in Utrecht, when my rich boyfriend at the time gave a house-warming party in his new house on the Nieuwe Gracht, and your aunt turned out to be his new neighbor. Not that she was there often, but it was hers and she had warmly accepted the invitation. She brought such a nice present: a glass sculpture on which about five tea lights could be placed. I think she said something about “infinite light” (she was still in her tree-hugging phase), but - between me and you - I was a bit tipsy when Aunt Irene came in, and I couldn’t understand everything properly because of the number of people there. Maybe she just said “bitchy queen.” It was a very nice party.

You do everything much more relaxed than your mother. Or so it seems. Because I understood that even Máxima’s “That was a bit silly of him” turns out to have been completely rehearsed. I was somewhat disappointed by that. I saw the scene play out: the Dutch Central Office of Information having to push a spontaneous woman with an Argentine temperament into the straitjacket called the Dutch Royal House.

I assume that this year, Amersfoort was not randomly chosen as the city hosting the King’s Day celebrations by one of the princesses with a nice game of donkey prick, but to be honest, I don’t really care either way. No matter how friendly you and your lovable wife come across, your position simply means tightly directed strategies, charm offensives and sometimes even, just to write it down in good royal Dutch: “wiedergutmachungen” (one can say: reparations). And, well, we all make mistakes. You are only human.

Of course, the monarchy is a hopelessly outdated institution, and, as a level-headed Dutchman – I always approach the royal orange frills with some appropriate suspicion. But when I consider Trump, Putin, Assad and Maduro, I am not so sure any more whether I should be dissatisfied about our little monarchy.

Or about you.

People will always be a monarchist at heart and have a rational republican streak. You will have to navigate the gap, which you are doing quite well.

Dear Willem-Alexander: I wish you and your family a happy birthday and give you three kisses on the cheek.

Just because I can.

Greetings to Max and your “triple A.”

And a kiss for mummy Trix.




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