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Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born 27 April 1967) is the eldest child of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus. Since 1980, he has been heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He studied history at Leiden University and is currently interested in international water management issues. He married Princess Máxima in 2002. They have three daughters Princess Catharina-Amalia (born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005), and Princess Ariane (born 2007).

Early life and education

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand was born on 27 April 1967 in the University Medical Centermarker in Utrechtmarker, Netherlandsmarker. He is the first child of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus of the Netherlands.

The Prince's godparents are Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (maternal grandfather), Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck, Jelle Zijlstra (former Prime Minister of the Netherlands), Gosta von Amsberg (paternal grandmother), Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Renee Smith.

He was educated at a Protestant high school in The Haguemarker, and also attended the United World College of the Atlanticmarker in Wales prior to university. He has been groomed in state affairs to assume the Dutch throne one day. He earned an academic degree in history from Leiden University and is interested in international water management issues.

Prince Willem-Alexander is fully conversant in both English and German, as well as his native Dutch.

Work and royal duties

Prince Willem-Alexander is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN, and the Swedish Ministry of Development. He was appointed as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation on 12 December 2006.

The prince is a member of the Raad van State, the highest council to the Dutch government that is chaired by his mother, Queen Beatrix. As part of his Royal duties, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army (as brigadier), Navy (as commandeur) and Air Force (as commodore) and was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committeemarker (IOC). To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, he has expressed support to bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

On behalf of the Crown, the Prince carries out various other representative duties.

Leisure activities

PH-KBX, the Dutch government airplane the Prince of Orange regularly flies
He is an aircraft pilot and sportsman. In 1989, the Prince flew as a volunteer for the "African Medical Research and Education Foundation" (AMREF) in Kenyamarker, and in 1991 he spent a month flying for the Kenya Wildlife Service.To make sure he flies enough miles a year, so that he can hold his license to fly, he also regularly flies the Dutch Royal Airplane when he and his family travel abroad.

Using the name "W.A. van Buren", one of the less well-known surnames of the House of Orange-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City Marathon, where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities ice skating marathon.

The Prince was also seen cheering on the Netherlands' national football team during their hosting year, at Euro 2000, always wearing an orange vest. He memorably gave a nervous laugh of disbelief as the Netherlands missed their second penalty of normal time against the Italians in the semi-final.

Marriage

Marriage of Prince Willem-Alexander with Máxima Zorreguieta
In a 1999 television interview, the Prince declared that he wouldn't marry in the next 10 years. At the time, he was 32 years old, and his father didn't marry until he was nearly 40.

Nonetheless, on 2 February 2002, he married at Beurs van Berlagemarker in Amsterdammarker Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 17 May 1971), an Argentinemarker woman of Spanish and Italian ancestry who, prior to their marriage, worked as an investment banker in New York Citymarker.

Like all Dutch monarchs, Prince Willem-Alexander is a nominal member of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church but, unlike the highly controversial 1964 marriage to a Roman Catholic by his aunt, Princess Irene, religion was not a major issue in the Prince's marriage.

The prince is a direct descendant of Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, eldest daughter of British King George II. However, under the British Act of Settlement, Prince Willem-Alexander forfeited his (distant) succession rights to the throne of each of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms, because he married a Roman Catholic.

The issue of Máxima's father, Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini, was rather sensitive. He was a civilian member of the Videla regime, a dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. As a result of the controversy, Mr. Zorreguieta agreed not to attend the royal wedding when representatives of Prime Minister Wim Kok requested that he stay away.

Issue

Name Birth date Birth place
Princess Catharina-Amalia The Haguemarker
Princess Alexia The Haguemarker
Princess Ariane The Haguemarker


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg (1967-1980)
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange (since 1980)


The prince's style and title in full is "His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg".

Heir-apparent

When his mother Queen Beatrix became the queen regnant of the Netherlands, prince Willem-Alexander obtained the title "Prince of Orange" as new heir to the Dutch throne.

He is the first male heir-apparent to the Dutch throne since Prince Alexander, son of King William III, who died in 1884. Prince Willem-Alexander has indicated that upon succeeding his mother, he would assume the throne under the regnal name William IV . If he ascends the throne, he will be the Netherlands' first male monarch since 1890.

Prince Willem-Alexander is also heir-apparent to the following titles:

  • Marquis of Veere
  • Marquis of Vlissingen
  • Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam and Culemborg
  • Viscount of Antwerp
  • Baron of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the city of Grave, the land of Cuijk, IJsselstein, Cranendonck, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstel, Waasten, Arlay and Nozeroy
  • Vrijheer of Ameland
  • Lord of Borculo, Bredevoort, Lichtenvoorde, Loo, Geertruidenberg, Klundert, Zevenbergen, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, Sint Maartensdijk, Soest, Baarn, Ter Eem, Willemstad, Steenbergen, Montfoort, St. Vith, Büttgenbach, Niervaart, Daasburg, Turnhout and Besançon


Military ranks

Conscription - Royal Netherlands Navy


Royal Netherlands Navy - Reserve


Royal Netherlands Air Force - Reserve


Royal Netherlands Army - Reserve


Royal Marechaussee - Reserve


Honours

Orders


Medals
  • Queen Beatrix Investiture Medal (30 april 1980)
  • Officer's cross for long service, with numberal XV (6 december 2001)


Honorary appointment



Ancestry




References

External links














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