Everything you need to know about the Dutch royal family

And a complete guide to who’s who…

If you’re a royalist but only familiar with the British and Danish royal families, allow us to introduce you to the Dutch royal family!

Is there still a Dutch royal family?

Yes, there is still a Dutch royal family. However, in the Netherlands there is a distinction between the Royal House and the royal family.

The Membership to the Royal House Act was revised in 2002 and since then the Royal House has been made up of:

  • The monarch
  • The former monarch (on abdication)
  • Any legitimate descendants of King Willem I who are related to the monarch in the first or second degree of kinship (first degree are parents and second degree are siblings) and are eligible for succession to the throne
  • The spouses of the above
  • Royal family members of further degrees of kinship if they were already members of the Royal House prior to the revision of the act in 2002
  • The spouses of the above

A member of the Dutch royal family can lose membership to the Royal House if they lose their Dutch nationality, are deprived of membership by royal decree and/or marry without the consent of Parliament.

The current members of the Royal House are:

King Willem-Alexander

Willem-Alexander is the eldest child of former Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus. He ascended the throne in 2013, when his mother abdicated.

king willem-alexander

Queen Máxima

Máxima Zorreguieta worked in marketing before marrying Willem-Alexander in 2002. She instantly became Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and then became Queen in 2013 when her husband ascended the throne.

queen maxima

Princess Beatrix

Beatrix reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 1980 until her abdication in 2013. Her title reverted back to ‘Princess’ when she abdicated.

princess beatrix

The Princess of Orange

Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange is the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, making her the heir apparent.

the princess of orange

Princess Alexia

Alexia is the second child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

princess alexia

Princess Ariane

Ariane is the third child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima

dutch royal family - princess ariane

Prince Constantijn

Constantijn is the third and youngest son of former Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus. He is currently fourth in the line to the Dutch throne behind his three nieces.

dutch royal family - prince constantijn

Princess Laurentien

Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst, the daughter of former Dutch minister of Economic Affairs Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, became a princess when she married Constantijn in 2001.

dutch royal family - princess laurentien

Princess Margriet

Margriet is former Queen Beatrix’s sister, making her King Willem-Alexander’s aunt and eighth in line to the throne.

dutch royal family - princess margriet

Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven

Pieter van Vollenhoven Jr. is Princess Margriet’s husband, making him a member of the Royal House by marriage.

dutch royal family - prof pieter van vollenhoven

Prince Friso, the second son of former Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus died in 2013, but was not a member of the Royal House prior to his death because he married Princess Mabel without Parliament’s consent.

The three children of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien – Countess Eloise, Count Claus-Casimir and Countess Leonore – are also not members of the Royal House as they’re more than two degrees of kinship from King Willem-Alexander. However, Eloise, Claus-Casimir and Leonore are all still in the line of succession.

Why is the Dutch royal family called the House of Orange?

In the 1500s, René de Chalon, Prince of Orange, owned the sovereign principality of Orange (a region in what is now southern France). But in 1544, René died childless and so, left his estates to his cousin, William of Nassau.

This made William Prince of Orange and he quickly founded the House of Orange-Nassau before ultimately leading the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs.

Essentially, the ‘House of Orange’ is derived from this important piece of the Netherland’s history.

Does the Dutch royal family have any power?

Yes and no. The Netherlands is, like the UK, a constitutional monarchy.

A constitutional monarchy is a system of government where a monarch acts as the head of state within the parameters of a constitution, meaning they have limited powers and mostly perform ceremonial duties, while elected officials handle the day-to-day running of the government.

queen elizabeth with king willem-alexander and queen maxima

How is Queen Elizabeth related to the Dutch royal family?

The late Queen Elizabeth II was related to the Dutch royal family but very distantly. It’s believed that Elizabeth and King Willem-Alexander were fifth cousins, twice removed.

The connection dates back to an 18th century princess, Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau; Elizabeth’s paternal grandmother, Queen Mary, was a descendant of Carolina and Willem-Alexander descends from Carolina through her son Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg.

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