Lang leve de Koning!
Today, Queen Beatrix (now Princess Beatrix) has abdicated and ceded the throne to her son Willem Alexander. We watched the abdication ceremony and the inauguration of the new King, accompanied by Queen Máxima and their three beautiful daughters. The event was a great ceremony, for it is right and just that there should be much ado about sovereignty. Though the lion’s teeth have been drawn, there is still a plentiful supply of affection and longing for unity (a national unity, including our Caribbean domains and in friendship with other nations).
In his speech, the King thanked his old mother for the tireless and inspiring effort with which she had fulfilled her responsibility. He also proclaimed his happiness with the support of his wife, Queen Máxima; and he mentioned her awareness that her position implied personal limitations. Yet he continued: ‘To the utmost, she is prepared to place her many capacities in the service of my kingship and the kingdom of us all.’
At that moment, Queen Máxima – incidentally the first Catholic Queen of the Netherlands since it regained its independence from France in 1815 – struck me as a vivid image of the Church, or (in microcosm) the Christian soul. Aren’t we all the King’s bride? It is a destiny that can sometimes be constraining and demanding; it implies devotion and vigilant perseverance; and it also elevates, beautifies and beatifies us. It is the glory of the King in which we are meant to take part, the King who stands unmoving to receive the pledge of submission from every singular dignitary at the many-membred heavenly court.
As Psalm 45 describes the King:
God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.