How the Monarchy of the Netherlands Differs from That of the United Kingdom
In an age when monarchies are an ancient relic, two important countries in Europe like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands still have monarchies. Both are constitutional monarchies with very little political power, yet they are an institution by themselves. However both monarchies have subtle differences that distinguish them from each other.
The British monarchy is the older of the two and traces its lineage to 1066, when William the Conqueror landed in England. In contrast the Netherland’s monarchy is just about 200 years old having been established in 1815. The Dutch have had only 6 monarchs till date and prince Willem-Alexander will be the seventh. The British monarchy is male centric and the heir apparent is known as the Prince of Wales. There is no Princess of Wales. . This is likely to change in England with a new law on the anvil. In contrast the Netherlands monarchy is not male centric and the heir apparent is known as the Prince of Orange or if a girl as the Princess of Orange. This title is associated with the Principality of Orange in Southern France.
Both are constitutional monarchies, but there is a difference. The British monarch reigns till death and as such there is no abdication. Thus Queen Elizabeth continues to rule though crowned in 1953. Abdication in the British context can only take place with the approval of the government like King Edward abdicated when he fell in love with a married lady Mrs Simpson in 1930 and wanted to marry her. He abdicated his throne at that time. In the Netherlands a monarch can abdicate anytime or when he or she is old. Thus Queen Beatrix of Netherlands has abdicated her crown in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. She ruled for 33 years and is now 75.
The English sovereign is temporal and political head. Thus in England a King or Queen is crowned. She or he also heads the angelical church. This is not the case in the Netherlands where there is no coronation ceremony, but an investiture ceremony attended by members of both houses of parliament. The Netherlands sovereign is not identified with any religious connotation. And during the investiture ceremony the crown, orb and sceptre are only displayed on a table.
The Dutch royal family cost the state 31 million pounds a year. In contrast the British royal family also known as the Hose of Windsor cost a shade lower at 29.7 million pounds. The Dutch economy is much smaller than England, thus this expenditure is quite significant.
Both monarchies have adapted to the 21st century and are likely to see this century through.