No no, I don’t mean me, but I’m talking about big royalty news, well at least it is huge news on these shores. The abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
And she has decided to abdicate in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange.
This naturally stirs up discussions about heirs, reigns and monarchy in general. Some don’t understand why she’d willingly and voluntarily give up the Crown. She is still healthy, both physically and mentally. In theory she still has many years ahead of her where she could have reigned as Queen. However, when looking at the past 10 years or so, one can understand why she would take such a step. Her 75th Birthday is this
Friday Thursday, and this year marks the 200th year the Netherlands is a monarchy. Her greatest support was her late husband, Prince Claus, who died in 2002. And last year her second son, Prince Friso, ended up in a coma after being caught in an avalanche during their annual skiing holiday in Lech. After so many personal & public heartaches – the unfortunate attempt to assassinate the royal family in 2009 – many were already wondering when she’d announce her abdication. It came as a surprise she continued to reign, even after the accident of Friso. Still, it comes as a great surprise to all, considering she had just finished 2 state visits to Brunei & Singapore in the first 2 weeks of the year!
I find it interesting to see the discussion between those who think being an monarch is until death, and those who think she has made a wise choice to make way for a new generation. Some have even claimed Beatrix chose the coward’s way by abdicating. She was getting tired of all the protocol, political turmoil etc etc. While others see it as an enlightened way to rule, perhaps it is time for new blood who does know their way around our ever-changing society.
Now I know Elizabeth would never, never ever even consider abdication, perish the thought!! She will rule until her very last breath, for she sees it as her lifelong duty. I applaud her dedication, I do, however I can also understand knowing when to step down. But I guess the latter also fits the Dutch attitude towards work & duty. They tend to work to live, not to live to work. Loyalty, dedication and duty are indeed wonderful things, but the Dutch understand why even a Queen would want to enjoy her golden years in some more peace and quiet. It’s not like she’ll disappear completely, she will be very much present in the background, advising her son, showing him the reins and offer lots of moral support for quite a burden.
All of this does lead to a very interesting question to me. Do I live to work, or work to live? And am I defined by my work, or is my work defined by who I am? I can answer the first one much easier, I definitely work to live. However the second question is a tough one.
So are you defined by your work? Or is your work defined by who you are?