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‘No school for becoming queen’: Dutch princess in limelight

Heir to the throne steps into her future on her 18th birthday
Heir to the Dutch throne Princess Amalia, left, takes an honorary seat at the Council of State, the highest government advisory body in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, as her father King Willem-Alexander, right, looks on, one day after celebrating her eighteenth birthday. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

The heir to the Dutch throne took part in a ceremonial meeting of the government’s chief advisory body Wednesday in a symbolic step into the royal limelight a day after she turned 18.

Princess Amalia, the eldest of Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima’s three daughters, was formally welcomed by her father to the Council of State advisory panel in a nationally televised ceremony.

“Since yesterday, as our constitution also solemnly formulates, I have a rightful seat in the Council of State. And that has everything to do with the office that awaits me. In the distant future, I hope,” Amalia said in a brief speech. “Although there is always the realization that it could be tomorrow.”

Amalia is taking a gap year after graduating from high school and before starting university. She acknowledged she has a lot to learn as a queen-in-waiting.

“I realize how little I know about the tasks of government, the assessment of laws, the functioning of the administration and the role of the judge,” she said.

Now that she is 18, Amalia is entitled to an allowance worth 1.6 million euros ($1.8 million) per year, but she said earlier this year she does not want to accept it.

In a hand-written note to the Dutch prime minister, she said, “I find it uncomfortable as long as I can offer little in return and other students have it so much more difficult, especially in these uncertain corona times.”

At a brief meeting with reporters after Wednesday’s event, Amalia underscored again that she will take her time to grow toward the role of queen of this nation of more 17.5 million and the rest of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“There is no school for becoming queen as there is for lawyer, teacher, baker,” she said. “So I think we need to look at what they did in the past but also keep a close eye on what is happening now and move with the times.”

—The Associated Press