King’s Day with a shadow on the crown

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King Willem-Alexander’s birthday will be celebrated this Monday, April 27th, and this means that we have a public holiday on the island. Six Dutch Caribbean islands are all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are separate constituent countries within the Kingdom, whereas Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba are part of the constituent country of the Netherlands. King’s Day is normally celebrated with festivities, flea markets and activities but this year there is a shadow on the crown caused by COVID-19.

Nevertheless Aruba Today wishes to remember this day and celebrate the bond between Aruba and its King. King Willem-Alexander is the head of state of Aruba and the governor represents the monarch in Aruba. Willem-Alexander was the son of then Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. He was first in the line of succession since his mother’s accession to the throne on April 30, 1980, he also bore the title of prince of Orange. Willem-Alexander married Argentine-born Máxima Zorreguieta (thereafter Princess Máxima) in Amsterdam. On April 30, 2013, Beatrix stepped down, and Willem-Alexander was inaugurated as king of the Netherlands. The couple has three daughters:  Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange and first in line to the throne, Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, Princess Ariane of the Netherlands.

The color orange is referring to the color of the Dutch Royal Family, which hails from the House of Orange. The colors of the official Dutch flag are red, white, and blue. On royal birthdays, the Dutch tricolor is flown with an orange pennant above it. Normally on April 27, Amsterdam — and indeed the entire county — turns orange and because Aruba is part of the Dutch Kingdom, we are used to celebrate along. An official government ceremony in honor of King Willem Alexander is usually held at the Wilhelmina Park in downtown Oranjestad, where the public can enjoy a parade of Aruba’s military and scouting groups. This year King’s Day will be celebrated in the house because Aruba has ‘shelter in place’ due to the COVID-19 virus. It will be a different sensation, but we will still be thinking of the King and wish him a shiny day!