On April 30, 2013, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated in favor of her son, Willem Alexander, thereby giving the Dutch kingdom its first king in over a century -- and putting an end to one hundred and twenty-plus years of celebrating Queen's Day.
Queen's Day started out, on the last day of August 1885, as Princessedag: to celebrate the birthday of King Willem III's daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, who turned a tender five that year. Five years later, when her father died and Wilhelmina became Queen, the holiday got the name it would become known for the world over: Koninginnedag.
Queen's Day in Queen Wilhelmina's Day & Age...
Wilhelmina's successor, Queen Juliana, kept the holiday but changed the date to her own birthday: April 30th.
... and in Juliana's Day...
Juliana's own successor, Beatrix, was born on January 31st, right in the middle of winter -- and who wants to celebrate anything, even a royal b-day, in the middle of winter. So Queen's Day kept on being April 30.
... and celebrations turned a tad wilder...
... even in the kingdom's farthest Caribbean shores. (Just a bit.)
Well, except the first one. See, the first King's Day -- in history! -- was supposed to be April 27 2014, but it fell on a Sunday... And even a king knows you don't make friends by moving a day off to a weekend. Wisely, he chose to begin this revised tradition in 2015, when the 27th is a Monday. Yep. Next weekend is a long weekend for the Dutch kingdom.
From solemn flower girls and military parades to... Well.
(It's probably a good thing Queen Wilhelmina didn't live to see the, uh, evolution of her birthday celebrations)
|Yes. That lion has Willem Alexander's -- the king's -- face.|