Public gives royal baby a joyous welcome
8 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — The public has reacted joyously to the birth of the nation’s future queen as newspapers splashed the baby’s photo across their front pages and Dutch flags fluttered in the cold December sun.
Princess Maxima, the wife of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, gave birth at 5.01pm on Sunday and the royal trio returned that same night to their Wassenaar home from the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. Monday newspapers were filled with news about the birth.
Newspaper De Telegraaf headlined with “Hurrah, a princess”, while the more restrained De Volkskrant said: “Maxima gives Orange a princess”. The Dutch royal family is referred to as the House of Orange.
Both the Amsterdam-based Telegraaf and Rotterdam-based daily Algemeen Dagblad (AD) used on their front page a digital photo of the princess that Willem-Alexander took. The photo also appeared in Argentina, Norway and Germany. News of the birth hardly caused a ripple though in Britain and gained prominence in only a few German newspapers.
Back in the Netherlands, the Trouw newspaper and the Volkskrant opted for a sober shot of the happy father presenting his child to the nation during a Sunday night press conference. The Trouw ran a headline saying: “Healthy daughter for royal couple”, an NOS news report said.
Meanwhile, the AD put astrologist Joyce Hoen to work and the conclusion was that the newborn Sagittarius will be active and idealistic, but “more a thinker than a doer”. The princess will enjoy reading and travelling and will have little interest in eating or sport, Hoen said.
Millions of Dutch residents sat glued in front of their televisions on Sunday night. The first “live” appearance of the baby princess took place shortly after 9.30pm when Willem-Alexander showed his daughter to the nation via a press conference, ANP reported.
The government information service RVD said the crown prince will register the birth of the princess — whose name has not yet been revealed — at 10am in The Hague on Tuesday. The Hague Mayor Wim Deetman will personally receive the prince and diverse media reports have speculated that the princess will be called Catharina-Amalia.
The association of royalty-lovers, Bond van Oranjeverenigingen, said it was surprised by the quicker-than-expected birth of the baby princess. “But we are ready for the festivities,” an association director said.
The RVD had initially expected Princess Maxima to give birth in the first few weeks of January, but later said a December birth was anticipated. The RVD said its initial estimate was based on the maximum length of a pregnancy.
Maxima and Willem-Alexander have received congratulatory wishes from political and religious circles. National poet Gerrit Komrij will write a poem in honour of the royal couple’s first child.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende wished mother, daughter and father a peaceful time over the next few days to give their full attention to the child. “The loving thoughts and prayers of the Dutch people will be with them,” he said.
Opposition political parties have also publicly welcomed the birth, including the Socialist Party, ChristenUnie and Labour PvdA, which officially offered the royal couple their best wishes.
Governing coalition Democrat D66 leader Boris Dittrich warmly welcomed the birth, while Liberal VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen said the news was “tremendous” for Queen Beatrix, who could end a tough year on a happy note.
The Queen has been confronted this year with a scandal involving her second son Prince Johan Friso, who will lose his succession rights by marring Mabel Wisse Smit next year.
The Cabinet refused to request parliamentary approval of the marriage after it was revealed Mabel had lied about her relationship with the 1991-murdered drugs baron Klaaas Bruinsma.
The Royal Family is also embroiled in a public conflict with Princess Margarita and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zudewijn. Furthermore, Queen Beatrix commemorated the one-year anniversary of the death of her husband, Prince Claus, in October
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news