Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Orangefest for Netherland’s new ‘King Billy’... and an invite to celebrate Twelfth

Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands sits alongside his mother Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during her abdication ceremony in the Moseszaal at the Royal Palace on April 30, 2013 in Amsterdam
Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands sits alongside his mother Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during her abdication ceremony in the Moseszaal at the Royal Palace on April 30, 2013 in Amsterdam
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 30:  Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands signs the Act of Abdication as his wife Princess Maxima of the Netherlands (R) looks on during the abdication ceremony of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in the Moseszaal at the Royal Palace on April 30, 2013 in Amsterdam. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is abdicating the throne after a 33 year reign and hands the throne to her son Prince Willem-Alexander who will be sworn in later at the Nieuwe Kerk ahead of a joint session of parliament. (Photo by Bart Maat - Pool/Getty Images)
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 30: Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands signs the Act of Abdication as his wife Princess Maxima of the Netherlands (R) looks on during the abdication ceremony of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in the Moseszaal at the Royal Palace on April 30, 2013 in Amsterdam. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is abdicating the throne after a 33 year reign and hands the throne to her son Prince Willem-Alexander who will be sworn in later at the Nieuwe Kerk ahead of a joint session of parliament. (Photo by Bart Maat - Pool/Getty Images)

The new ‘King Billy’ may have only been on the Dutch throne for a day — but already he has been invited to attend the Twelfth celebrations in Northern Ireland.

The first Dutch king for 123 years, Willem-Alexander looked well-suited for a parade, donning a sash for his investiture and walking to church surrounded by pageantry.

Any Northern Irish tourists unaware of the historic event might have even been forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into Amsterdam’s version of an Eleventh Night celebration, as thousands of orange-clad revellers danced to booming beats and cheerily swigged beer.

And the Orange Order believes that the laid-back monarch might enjoy the annual Twelfth of July festivities that commemorate his famous namesake — Stadtholder Willem III of the Royal House of Orange-Nassau to the Dutch, or King Billy to his fans.

Orange Order director of services Dr David Hume said: “It is very fitting that King Willem has ascended the throne given the historical connections which exist between the Netherlands and the British Isles.

“It would therefore be very appropriate if on a future royal visit to the United Kingdom the new King Willem were able to visit Northern Ireland. The Dutch dignitary would also be most welcome to witness firsthand the spectacle of our annual Twelfth celebrations.”

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