‘Balanced’ is how a member of the royal family described the festivities in the towns of Rhenen and Veenendaal in Utrecht province Monday. The royal family minus four members went there to celebrate ‘Queen’s Day’, the official birthday of the monarch, and normally a boisterous orange coloured national day for the Dutch.
The balance was important to the royals, since this was not a ‘business as usual’ ‘Koninginnedag’ [for more pictures and reports see Royalblog's Koninginnedag special page], as Queen’s Day is called in the national language. The queen’s second son Prince Friso is still in coma in a London hospital, possibly he will never regain consciousness Austrian doctors said in February shortly after Friso was hit by an avalanche while off piste skying near Lech.
Rhenen and Veenendaal volunteered to cancel the day’s activities out of respect for the queen and her family. But Queen Beatrix, who marked 32 years on the throne of the Netherlands on April 30, would have none of it. Despite reservations by some members of her family she decided that the holiday would be marked as usual, with a visit to two towns, with a customary one hour or 800 metres walk about.
And, not just that, including the by now traditional participation of her family in the day’s activities, whether be painting boxes, playing football or – hold your breath – toilet bowl throwing. A novelty, with the future king Willem-Alexander clear winner over his brother Constantijn and his cousins Maurits, Bernhard, Pieter-Christiaan and Floris.
The pictures of the wc throwing royals weren’t exactly royal, but Willem-Alexander didnt’t miss the chance to point out his UN inspired campaign to give access to proper sanitary facilities for all earth’s inhabitants – part of the Millennium goals.
‘It was a pity and sad’, Queen Beatrix said in an emotional short speech at the end of the festivities, that ‘not all of our family can be here today’, in a clear reference to her son Prince Friso, and his wife Princess Mabel who stayed home with their children Luana and Zaria.
The queen’s brother-in-law Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven, who celebrated his 73rd birthday, only joined in for the last 100 metres, as he suffered from an old foot injury. Princess Anita was absent due to illness (picture above, Princess Aimée).
Opinion polls released on Queen’s Day showed the respect and esteem for Queen Beatrix remained high, and was even higher than in previous years. There was no longer talk of her possibly imminent abdication, not with Friso’s state of health and the government having just resigned. Elections have been called for September 12th. © GPD; Photos by © GPD AP and © GPD ANP (POOL)