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23/07/2013Dutch judges remove Queen Maxima portraits from courtrooms
Dutch judges in The Hague have removed portraits of their new Argentine-born Queen Maxima from their courtrooms, saying they don't want to hand down verdicts before someone who is not head of state.
The popular Maxima, 42, became queen when Willem-Alexander was sworn in as king on April 30, succeeding his mother Beatrix on the throne. The couple's official photo was then hung in state buildings around the Netherlands.
But judges from a court in the city of The Hague argued that since Maxima is not a sovereign, portraits featuring the royal couple together should not be displayed in court.
"Although it's no longer in the constitution, judges traditionally hand down verdicts 'in the name of the head of state'," court spokesman Arnoud Boer told AFP.
"Maxima is not a head of state."
The obligation to deliver judgements "in the name of the head of state" was removed from the constitution around 10 years ago, Boer said.
But some judges in The Hague, the Netherlands' seat of government and home to the royal family, still hand down verdicts according to that tradition.
"They let it be known that it bothered them to have photos of Maxima in court," Boer said.
The court then took down the portraits of Maxima, whose father Jorge Zorreguieta was a minister in the bloody dictatorship of Jorge Videla that saw thousands of political opponents disappeared in Argentina in the 1970s.
© 2013 AFP
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