Willem-Alexander today became the first king of the Netherlands for more than a century, as he was sworn in as the new monarch.
The 46-year-0ld took the throne after his 75-year-old mother, formerly known as Queen Beatrix, signed the abdication deed earlier on Tuesday after 33 years on the throne.
The investiture took place in Amsterdam’s 600-year-old Nieuwe Kerk or New Church, where the (then) king-in-waiting swore an oath to uphold the Dutch constitution and called for unity amid the country’s economic crisis.
Wearing the royal mantle at a pageant-heavy coronation attended by dignitaries from all over world and throngs of orange-clad members of the public,
The new King vowed:
“I swear that I shall defend and preserve the independence and territory of the state with all my powers.”
“That I shall protect the general and individual freedom and rights of all my subjects and shall use all available means granted to me by law for preserving and promoting general and individual prosperity as I befitting of a good king … So help me God almighty.”
The crowd watching the ceremony in Dam Square outside the decommissioned church roared as the announcement of the new King’s inauguration was made from a balcony overlooking the square, to a chorus of trumpet fanfare.
The former queen, now known as Princess Beatrix, announced her intention to abdicate in January after declaring it was time for the throne to be held by “a new generation.”
She was visibly emotional as she joined her son and his wife Maxima — a 41-year-old Argentine-born investment banker — on the balcony.
Princess Beatrix told the crowds: “I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king, Willem-Alexander.”
King Willem-Alexander then thanked his mother for “33 moving and interesting years,” before adding that saying he, the public and Dutch citizens everywhere were “intensely grateful” to her.
The Royal trio then held hands as the national anthem was played, before the new king and queen’s three young daughters were brought out to wave at the crowds. Their eldest, nine-year-old Catharina-Amalia, has become Princess of Orange and is now first-in-line to ascend the throne after her father.
In the evening, the royal family will take part in a water pageant.
King Willem-Alexander has previously said that he wants to “be a king that can bring society together, representative and encouraging in the 21st Century.”
He has also said he does not expect to be called ‘his majesty,’ and that people can address him “as they wish.”
Although, largely a ceremonial position, the politically impartial new King will co-sign new acts of parliament and oversee state visits.
He now rules not only the Netherlands but also the Dutch Caribbean territories of Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. Before his accession, Willem-Alexander requested an honorable discharge from his existing military titles.