I’m going to get a reputation for never putting up very serious stuff on this blog if I keep posting this sort of thing, but here goes.
So, I’m watching the coverage on Nederland 1 of today’s announcement from Prince Johan. It seems that, like his older brother, the number two prince of the Netherlands also has a penchant for falling for the wrong woman. Mabel Wisse Smit – a career UN human rights worker – may or may not have had a relationship with murdered gangster and suspected drug smuggler Klaas Bruinsma sometime in the distant past.
The debate on TV seems oddly familiar to me as a citizen of a nominal monarchy myself – depoliticise the monarchy, modernise, etc. What, I suppose most of you are asking, is the deal? Is something rotten in the state of Holland? The government was, apparently, uncertain if it wanted to approve the marriage, which it has the constitutional power to do. So, Johan has followed in the footsteps of Edward VIII by abdicating his claim to the throne for the woman he loves.
What is it with these Dutch royals? Queen Beatrix caused riots back in the 60’s by marrying a German. Number one prince Willem-Alexander was embroiled in controversy when he married Maxima Zorreguieta, an Argentinean ex-model whose father was a minister in the dictatorship during the 70’s. She couldn’t even invite her father to the wedding. Despite all the trouble at the time, now it seems like everyone loves Princess Maxima – who had the good sense to go away for a few months and learn to speak Dutch before doing a media blitz.
Now, is it just me, or does all this fuss strike anyone else as inane? Why, in nations with the common sense to let people marry who they please, do they impose unique and bizarre restrictions on their royal families? The British royals, of course, get a lot more global press than Europe’s other monarchs, but as far as I can tell, the whole lot seem just as silly.