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If you ever look at Prince Charles and wonder What an idiot aloud, rest assured, not all European royal families are as dysfunctional as Britain’s House of Windsor. There’s also a few compounding factors — as terrible as Americans may think The National Enquirer and the paparazzi may be, it pales in comparison to the British tabloid press, which thrives in the UK. Of course, Charles hasn’t helped himself over the years, as had Prince Harry’s antics with drugs and wearing a Nazi uniform.

Still, if one were to cross the northern end of the English Channel, one would find that the Dutch have a resolutely different attitude. If you stopped at a newsagent or a kiosk in, say, Eindhoven, Utrecht, or Amsterdam, you’re not going to find the same type of tabloid coverage. Queen Beatrix, her husband Claus, and her children are not hounded to death, and they enjoy a greater sense of privacy, as a phalanx of reporters do not pursue their every movement, looking for the one compromising moment to cash in on.

Still, despite the differences, the roles of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Beatrix are a lot alike. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. That is, the Queen rules and passes her throne in a royal lineage, but a constitutional document confers most of the legislative and governing responsibilities to a parliament and a prime minister. Beatrix has some responsibilities, but she’s mostly a figurehead — before the Euro Dollar killed the Guilder, Beatrix’s face in profile graced Dutch coinage. She often travels as a dignitary on behalf of her nation, but there are certain duties she’s expected to fulfill. According to the Dutch Royal Family’s website:

As part of the government, the Queen is closely involved with Dutch political life. The Queen:

  • meets the prime minister and speaks regularly with ministers and state secretaries;
  • signs Acts of Parliament and Royal Decrees;
  • appoints informateurs and formateurs when a new government is being formed;
  • is president of the Council of State, the government’s main advisory body. She became a member of the Council of State on her 18th birthday.


Since 1848, the Constitution has laid down that the monarch is inviolable. This means that the monarch is politically neutral and the ministers are accountable to Parliament for government policy. The ministers are also politically accountable for what the monarch says and does.


One Comment

  1. Hi Rich
    Some trivia on your Dutch Monarchy blog. The Currency unit in (a large part of) Europe is the Euro. It is only referred to as the Euro dollar by people who are convinced that Walt Disney created Winnie the Pooh.
    Beatrix’s profile (complete with wrinkles) still graces one side of Euro coins minted in Holland, likewise, Belgium and Spain use an image of their monarch, Germany has its eagle and Ireland its Guinness emblem.
    Off to read the rest of your blogs now.
    All the best.

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