An Heir for The Netherlands

Long expected, but still a big surprise! On June 18 at 17:00 at a meeting with the Union for Journalists of the Royal House at The Hague the Prince of Orange and his wife Princess Máxima made known personally that they expect their first child in the first half of January 2004. For Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands the baby will be her second grandchild, Máxima's father also has already grandchildren, while it will be the first grandchild for Máxima's mother. A visibly happy crown princely couple that never stopped smiling during the one hour meeting, answered all questions of the present media.

About one hour before the meeting the news was already unofficially known as the Business News Radio, a commercial newschannel, issued a personal email of Princess Máxima in Spanish and English to friends announcing the pregnancy. At the meeting Princess Máxima acknowledged that the email was hers and said it was an email to inform closest friends about the pregnancy and that she finds it a pity that the email leaked out. In the email it among others says: 'All types of tips are welcome, where to buy pregnancy clothing (no tents please), larger shoes than EVER, trollies (small-medium-large, inside the car-out of the car), maternity nurses, nannies, yoga exercises, pre-birth rattlers, etc.' It seems we surely can't expect seeing Máxima wearing unelegant maternity clothes.

The email furthermore reveals Máxima is expecting only one child and that the impregnation was natural, despite of rumours in magazines. 'We have become pregnant very quickly', the Prince of Orange said. Princess Máxima added that she might have felt the pressure of the media if she hadn't become pregnant that quick. The expectant parents find it most important is that the baby is healthy, and they don't want to know if it is a girl or a boy until the birth.

Princess Máxima hasn't been feeling very well in the beginning of the pregnancy, but is doing fine now although she is longing for sweet things at the moment. Until now the pregnancy is going quite well and the couple can't wait until the baby is born. However they don't have any idea how their life will look like after the birth of the baby. Máxima will start maternity leave four weeks before the birth of the baby, until ten weeks after the birth, like any other Dutch woman. Princess Máxima says she hopes that her husband will be a modern father who also changes diapers. Willem-Alexander just smiled and said he will try to support his wife as much as possible. Of course they will also have a nanny for the baby, so they don't have to do everything themselves.

I am actually not fully sure when the baby really should arrive in the world. The official announcement on paper says medio January, the email of Máxima and Willem-Alexander speaks about early January. And then I have to mention the reports on television and in newspapers that say Máxima was three months pregnant at the time of the announcement. But according to me they can't count. Even if the baby is expected in early January, she was only 2 1/2 month pregnant at the time of the announcement.

Immediately after the announcement was made politicians appeared on television telling how happy they are for the couple. The couple had told the Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende already about the pregnancy before the announcement, but the other politicians were completely surprised. One day after the announcement politicians discussed if Máxima's father, Jorge Zorreguieta, is allowed to attend the christening of his grandchild. Most political parties agreed he will be allowed to come as a christening is a private and religious event.

Now only the rebuilding of the estate De Horsten in Wassenaar, where the couple wants to live in the near future, has to be finished. Reports say it is almost ready so the couple should be able to move probably even this summer. At the moment they still live in Willem- Alexander's old house next to Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, but the baby will be able to grow up in a nice big house with lots of rooms, a swimming-pool and a huge garden. He or she will hopefully enjoy a care-free childhood with as little media attention as possible.

Netty Leistra
Royal Watch
July 2003

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