I am very happy. My mother is here in the Netherlands to spend some time with us. We have been enjoying each other's company and the weather, so far, has been nice. In spite of the fact that my mother has many difficulties to walk, we have been able to do some (very) short walks to the city center and have some fun shopping.
Today my dear mother will enjoy with us a historical day in the Netherlands: at 10 am, Queen Beatrix will sign her abdication in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam and her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, will become King of the Netherlands. Beatrix abdicates as her mother, the former Queen Juliana, and her grandmother, the former Queen Willemina. Half hour after the official abdication, Beatrix, Willem-Alexander and Máxima will make a brief appearance on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Both, mother and son, will make a short speech and, minutes later, the three princesses (Amalia - who will become Princess of Orange -, Alexia and Ariane) will join their parents.
In the afternoon, between 14:00 and 15:30, the official investiture (inhuldiging) - which has a secular character, opposite to the religious character of a coronation - will take place in the Nieuwe Kerk in Dam square. We will be following this special event at home. Willem-Alexander will promise to uphold the constitution and most of the members of the houses of the parliament will swear their allegiance to the new king. In spite of the fact that no coronation will take place, the crown (symbol of the sovereignty and dignity), the sceptre (authority) and the orb (the territory of the kingdom) will be placed on a cushion next to the throne.
Reading how the investiture will occur, I remembered the paintings of the Portuguese kings of our last dinasty (Braganza), always next to the crown, placed on a cushion, and not wearing it. As you may know, Portuguese kings stopped wearing the crown in 1646. After the end of 60 years of Spanish rule, Dom João IV - the first king of the Braganza dinasty - offered the Portuguese crown to Our Lady of Conception, since then, considered the patroness and Queen of Portugal.
Have fun out there, if you are in the Netherlands! Enjoy your last Queen's Day!