Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange

Prince of Orange
Close-up of Willem-Alexander wearing a military peaked cap
Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange in 2009
Spouse Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (m. 2002)
Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands
Princess Alexia of the Netherlands
Princess Ariane of the Netherlands
Full name
Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father Prince Claus of the Netherlands
Mother Beatrix of the Netherlands
Born 27 April 1967 (1967-04-27) (age 42)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Religion Christian (Dutch Reformed Church)

Dutch Royal Family
Coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg

HM the Queen *

Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born 27 April 1967) is the eldest child of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus. Since 1980, he has been heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He was in military service and he studied history at Leiden University. He is currently interested in international water management issues and sports. He married Princess Máxima in 2002. They have three daughters Princess Catharina-Amalia (born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005), and Princess Ariane (born 2007).

Early life

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand was born on 27 April 1967 in the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands. He is the first child of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus of the Netherlands, and the first grandchild of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. From birth Willem-Alexander has the titles Prince of the Netherlands (Dutch: Prins der Nederlanden), Prince of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Prins van Oranje-Nassau), and Jonkheer of Amsberg (Dutch: Jonkheer van Amsberg). He was baptised as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church on 2 September 1967 in the Saint Jacob's Church in The Hague. His godparents are Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck, Prime Minister Jelle Zijlstra, and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

He has two younger brothers: Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, born in 1968, and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, born in 1969. He lived with his family at the castle Drakesteijn in the hamlet Lage Vuursche near Baarn from his birth until 1981, when they moved to the larger palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. His mother Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands in 1980, after his grandmother Juliana abdicated. He then received the hereditary title Prince of Orange, as heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The kingdom is comprising the autonomous countries the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and since 1986 also Aruba.

Education and military training

He went to the elementary school Nieuwe Baarnse School in Baarn from 1973 to 1979. He went to three different high schools, the Baarns Lyceum in Baarn from 1979 to 1981, the Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum in The Hague from 1981 to 1983, and the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales from 1983 to 1985, where he received his International Baccalaureate.

After high school he performed his military service in the Royal Netherlands Navy from August 1985 to January 1987. He received his training at the Royal Netherlands Naval College and the frigates HNLMS Tromp and HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, where he was an ensign. In 1988, he received additional training at the ship HNLMS Van Kinsbergen and became a lieutenant (junior grade).

From 1987, he studied history at Leiden University until he received his academic degree in 1993. His final dissertation was on the Dutch response to France's decision under President de Gaulle to leave NATO's integrated command structure.

Work and royal duties

Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife during 'Prinsjesdag'

Prince Willem-Alexander is interested in water management issues. He is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN, and the Swedish Ministry of Development. He was appointed as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation on 12 December 2006.

The prince is a member of the Raad van State, the highest council to the Dutch government that is chaired by his mother, Queen Beatrix. As part of his Royal duties, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army (as brigadier), Navy (as commandeur) and Air Force (as commodore).

He was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, he has expressed support to bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Leisure activities

PH-KBX, the Dutch government airplane the Prince of Orange regularly flies

He is an aircraft pilot and sportsman. In 1989, the Prince flew as a volunteer for the "African Medical Research and Education Foundation" (AMREF) in Kenya, and in 1991 he spent a month flying for the Kenya Wildlife Service. To make sure he flies enough miles a year, so that he can hold his license to fly, he also regularly flies the Dutch Royal Airplane when he and his family travel abroad.

Using the name "W.A. van Buren", one of the less well-known surnames of the House of Orange-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City Marathon, where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities ice skating marathon.

The Prince was also seen cheering on the Netherlands' national football team during their hosting year, at Euro 2000, always wearing an orange vest. He memorably gave a nervous laugh of disbelief as the Netherlands missed their second penalty of normal time against the Italians in the semi-final.


Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima kiss at the balcony of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam on their wedding day in 2002

In a 1999 television interview, the Prince declared that he wouldn't marry in the next 10 years. At the time, he was 32 years old, and his father didn't marry until he was nearly 40.

Nonetheless, on 2 February 2002, he married at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 17 May 1971), an Argentine woman of Spanish and Italian ancestry who, prior to their marriage, worked as an investment banker in New York City.

Like all Dutch monarchs, Prince Willem-Alexander is a nominal member of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church but, unlike the highly controversial 1964 marriage to a Roman Catholic by his aunt, Princess Irene, religion was not a major issue in the Prince's marriage.

Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima meet Michelle Obama, Susan Sher, Barack Obama, and Fay Hartog-Levin at the White House in 2009

The prince is a direct descendant of Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, eldest daughter of British King George II. However, under the British Act of Settlement, Prince Willem-Alexander forfeited his (distant) succession rights to the throne of each of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms, because he married a Roman Catholic.

The issue of Máxima's father, Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini, was rather sensitive. He was a civilian member of the Videla regime, a dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. As a result of the controversy, Mr. Zorreguieta agreed not to attend the royal wedding when representatives of Prime Minister Wim Kok requested that he stay away.


Name Birth date Birth place
Princess Catharina-Amalia 7 December 2003(2003-12-07) The Hague
Princess Alexia 26 June 2005(2005-06-26) The Hague
Princess Ariane 10 April 2007(2007-04-10) The Hague

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Royal styles of
The Prince of Orange

Coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg

Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style None
  • His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg (1967-1980)
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange (since 1980)

The prince's style and title in full is "His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg".

Heir apparent

When his mother Queen Beatrix became the queen regnant of the Netherlands, prince Willem-Alexander obtained the title "Prince of Orange" as new heir to the Dutch throne.

He is the first male heir apparent to the Dutch throne since Prince Alexander, son of King William III, who died in 1884. Prince Willem-Alexander has indicated that upon succeeding his mother, he would assume the throne under the regnal name Willem IV. If he ascends the throne, he will be the Netherlands' first male monarch since 1890.

Prince Willem-Alexander is also heir apparent to the following titles:

  • Marquis of Veere
  • Marquis of Vlissingen
  • Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam and Culemborg
  • Viscount of Antwerp
  • Baron of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the city of Grave, the land of Cuijk, IJsselstein, Cranendonck, Eindhoven, Liesveld, Herstel, Waasten, Arlay and Nozeroy
  • Vrijheer of Ameland
  • Lord of Borculo, Bredevoort, Lichtenvoorde, Loo, Geertruidenberg, Klundert, Zevenbergen, Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, Sint Maartensdijk, Soest, Baarn, Ter Eem, Willemstad, Steenbergen, Montfoort, St. Vith, Büttgenbach, Niervaart, Daasburg, Turnhout and Besançon

Military ranks

Conscription - Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy - Reserve
Royal Netherlands Air Force - Reserve
Royal Netherlands Army - Reserve
Royal Marechaussee - Reserve


  • Queen Beatrix Investiture Medal (30 April 1980)
  • Officer's cross for long service, with numberal XV (6 December 2001)

Honorary appointment


Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Amsberg
Born: 27 April 1967
Dutch royalty
Preceded by
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
later became Queen Beatrix
Heir to the Dutch throne
as heir apparent
1980 – present
Line of succession to the Dutch throne
1st position
Succeeded by
Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands
Title last held by
Alexander, Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange
1980 – present

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