Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The day began early at 8 in the morning, when one hundred canon blasts woke up Amsterdam. Less than two hours later, Queen Juliana, Princess Beatrix and the other members of the Royal Family joined the official guests of the abdication ceremony in one of the rooms of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, which included the Presidents of the First and Second Chamber, the Prime-Minister and several members of the Cabinet. Queen Juliana sat in the middle of the enormous table, facing the cameras, having by her right Prince Bernhard and by her left Princess Beatrix, who had on her left Prince Claus. Queen Juliana, after a brief speech, asked that the act of abdication be read, so that she could sign it afterwards. Soon after 10 in the morning Queen Juliana signed the act of abdication, followed by Princess Beatrix. On that moment, Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands, Juliana became Princess of the Netherlands. It was a solemn and yet very moving moment. One hour later, the Royal Family appeared in the balcony of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam to the cheers of thousands of people massed in front of the Palace. Juliana spoke to the microphones: “I have just renounced the throne. I present you Beatrix, your new queen.” Queen Beatrix, very moved, answered her mother in a brief speech:

“My beloved mother, there have been almost thirty-two years that you have been queen and that you have been serving the one to follow. You have acquired the love of us all. I am profoundly grateful of all that you have made for us, with our father by your side, during all these years.

“I cannot but wait that I’ll be given the strength to be queen in a way harmonized with your knowledge and humanity. You are not only my mother, you are also my example.

“In this place where you firstly appeared as Queen Juliana, I tell you from all my heart: may the future keep many years of happiness and contentment to the Princess Juliana!”

Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, after being cheered by the crowds, returned to inside the Palace while the children of Queen Beatrix, Willem-Alexander, Constantine and Johan Friso, appeared on the balcony, while the National Anthem was played. The ceremony of the enthronement began at 3 pm as the Queen, having been preceded by the Royal Family (who entered by a smaller door), left the Royal Palace of Amsterdam with Prince Claus. The mood was now different, more solemn than in the morning. The morning dresses of the abdication ceremonies were replaced by long dresses for women and dress coats with decorations for men. In an extremely simple and awesomely elegant white dress, covered in the back by the beautiful robe of dark-red velvet and ermine, embroidered with lions in gold, Queen Beatrix, wearing a discreet diamond and pearl tiara (by contrast with the imposing one she had worn for her wedding), impressed everyone for her seriousness and grandeur.

The national anthem was played inside the “Nieuwe Kerk”, decorated with thousands of flowers in tones of orange, as the Queen made her entrance, towards the centre of the church, where a beautiful chair was placed for the new Queen. The Dutch Royal Family and the members of foreign royal families seated to the right of the “tribune” (when facing it). In front of it, in a table, rested, in different cushions, the crown and sceptre of the Netherlands and the orb, surrounding the constitution. Queen Beatrix pronounced her speech to the members of both chambers of the parliament, assembled there, in which Her Majesty announced that the “Queen’s Day” would remain the 30th April, in honour of Princess Juliana, whose birthday was being celebrated.

Afterwards, Queen Beatrix swore the constitution, standing. After the members of the chambers promised loyalty to the new sovereign, the choir and the orchestra played, among other pieces, the Coronation Mass, by Mozart. At the end, Beatrix and Claus left again through the main door of the church and under the canopy followed to the Royal Palace, to the sound of the national anthems, played by the bells. 20 years after, Beatrix remains one of the most popular sovereigns of Europe and is extremely respected and admired by the vast majority of the Dutch people. Although there have been rumours that she might abdicate in favour of her son Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, there has been no sort of comment on the issue.

The decade of 1980 would yet see a new form of enthronement. Prince Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein decided not to abdicate but to fully pass his power to his son, the Prince Hans Adam. On the 26th August 1984, the Crown Prince of Liechtenstein became the Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein but not the head of state. It means that, by decision of his father, he had all the powers, he fully represented the state, but Prince Franz Joseph was, in theory, the head of state. He had been so since the 25th July 1938, when he succeeded his uncle, and he had been married for several decades to Princess Gina, a very beautiful and elegant woman, born countess. His eldest son, Prince Hans Adam, was married in 1967 to Princess Marie, born Countess Wchinitz und Tettau. The Sovereign Prince had ordered the Constitution to be changed so that he was allowed to pass his power, without signing any act of abdication. Thus, the act signed by Prince Franz Joseph on the 26th August 1984, stated:

“(…) I appoint from today afterwards as my representative, my future successor, His Highness the Hereditary Prince Hans Adam. In regard of the preparation of this succession, I authorise him to exercise all the rights of sovereignty that belong to me.

“I’ll be informed of all the important business of our country by my representative. My representative will sign as follows: «In representation of the reigning prince: the hereditary prince Hans Adam».”

The day of the ceremony of passing of powers began by with a Mass in the Cathedral of Vaduz celebrated by the bishop of the closest diocese, in Switzerland, attended by the members of the Princely Family, the Government, the 15 members of Parliament and the president of the chamber and some diplomatic representatives. After the ceremony, the Princely Family, the richest in Europe, with several palaces in Europe (apart of the Castle of Vaduz and several public buildings of the country) and a immense collection of jewels and art, moved to the Castle with the Government and the Parliament, where the ceremony, extremely simple, would take place. The signing of the act of passing of powers took place in the dining room of the Castle, where the Prince Franz Joseph II and the Prime Minister signed the documents, being the ceremony achieved after the act was delivered to Prince Hans Adam. The day ended with a little concert in the quadrangle of the Castle and later a discreet reception to the authorities of the country.

Prince Franz-Joseph II died in November 1989 (Princess Gina died one month before), having reigned for 51 years, even if 5 were in this new condition. It wasn’t until August 1990 that took place the formal proclamation of Prince Hans Adam II. The national day, 15th August (Prince Franz Joseph’s anniversary), was chosen for the celebrations, which included several events with the population, and not a formal enthronement. The ceremony, attended by the whole Princely Family, took place on open air in Vaduz, and it included a mass by the new Archbishop of Vaduz, which was followed by choral music display. His Serene Highness the Sovereign Prince Hand Adam, who immediately succeeded his father in November, even if only on this 15th August he was proclaimed, pronounced his speech, during which he remembered his father. The president of the Parliament then spoke on his turn, a speech that was followed by the National Anthem and the departure of the Princely Family to the Castle of Vaduz where, later in the day, a grand reception was offered. Two days later, Liechtenstein was admitted in the United Nations, what was seen as a personal achievement of Prince Hans Adam.

The situation of the monarchy in Liechtenstein is fairly dubious. Everyone is waiting for the results of a referendum on the amendment of the constitution. The change would be favouring the strengthening of the Sovereign Prince’s powers, thus he would acquire the power to nominate the judges. However, part of the political power is against, and the Prince has vowed that if the result of the referendum is against his wishes, he will leave the country and install himself with his family in the two Palaces he owns in Vienna, and allow the principality to become a republic (having in mind that the family would still be owning much of Liechtenstein, including the major part of the national bank). There are rumours that Prince Alois, the Hereditary Prince, married to Duchess Sophie in Bayern, supports his father’s decision, and it had been rumoured before that Prince Hans Adam was considering abdicating in his eldest son, who has been father of four children since he married in 1993. Latest rumours suggest that the prince could leave the country for Switzerland but leave a regent, member of his family, in his place.

Index Page
Part Five