Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The King of the Netherlands

The ceremonies for the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the formal accession of King Willem-Alexander as the first King of the Netherlands for 123 years in Amsterdam yesterday appear to have been suitably splendid, and well supported by both the people of the kingdom and by the other royal houses of Europe and the world.

King Willem-Alexander at his inauguration ceremony.
The King's mantle dates from the establishment of the kingdom in 1815 

Image: Zimbio

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

The King is wearing the star and riband of the Military Order of William, the highest Order of the monarchy.
The Queen is wearing the star and riband of the Civil Order of the Netherlands Lion. Her tiara was made for Queen Emma, the consort of King Willem III

Image: Zimbio

There is an illustrated report from the BBC website here and one with additional links to background articles from the Daily Telegraph here. One of those links is to a photo-gallery, which can be seen here,and there is another good selection of photographs here. The Zimbio website appears to offer a much greater selection, particularly of the actual accession ceremony, and can be seen here.

From all these I copied this one of the crown of the Netherlands, made for King Willem II in 1840, because it is not often featured in photographs:

The Dutch Crown is seen at the credence-table prior to the inauguration of Dutch King Willem-Alexander at Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam.

The Dutch Crown is seen at the credence-table prior to the inauguration of  King Willem-Alexander at Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam.

Image: Reuters/Daily Telegraph

Looking at pictures of yesterday's events and also at other background material on the Dutch monarchy I was reminded of the fact that despite the really tired, but oft-repeated, cliches about its bicycling image - presented too often here by the mean spirited or ignorant as a criticism of our own monarchy as being too remote or grandiose - the fact is that occasions such as the transfer of authority from one monarch to another, the ceremonial opening of the States General, and for Royal weddings and funerals the monarchy in the Netherlands is as ceremonious and splendid as the British or any other when it considers it necessary. Long may it continue to do so.

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