The Dutch government says it plans to hold to the custom of addressing the king’s wife as “queen”. This means that when Crown Prince Willem-Alexander succeeds Queen Beatrix, Princess Máxima will automatically become queen.
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal made the announcement in response to calls by three Dutch opposition parties break with this tradition. Labour, Green Left and the Animal Rights Party argued that the custom was a form of discrimination, since the spouses of queens are not addressed as “king”.
The husbands of Queen Beatrix (Prince Claus) and Queen Juliana (Prince Bernhard) never became king but held the title of prince-consort, since the title “king” would imply that they were the most powerful person in the country. This tradition is also upheld by other European monarchies.
Mr Rosenthal said the government sees no reason to break with tradition. He pointed out that Máxima would not be queen in the same sense as Queen Beatrix but that she will nevertheless be addressed as “queen”.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide