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By Christian
February 2, 2002 - 7:25 PM

Hello World!

I just finished watching the royal wedding of our crown prince on TV here. It was really special - over the past few years we already had a few test runs when a few cousins and a brother of the crown prince got married, but of course that wasn't comparable at all to the wedding of Willem Alexander and his Argentian bride Maxima.

For starters, this probably was the largest royal event we've had since the coronation of Queen Beatrix 20 years ago. Guests included the monarchs of Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, the UK's Prince Charles, but also people like Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan. And it was nice to see a whole host of well-known Dutch people again, from former prime minister Ruud Lubbers to all the more distant members of the Royal House.

But most special of course were Maxima and Willem Alexander themselves. Her wedding dress was probably the best-kept Dutch secret of the year, and turned out to be a five-meter long creation that looked quite impressive whenever she strode in. And it was beautiful to see how happy they both looked, particular at the end of the public events when they appeared on the balcony of the palace in Amsterdam. They even kissed - six times - even though at first they'd said they wanted to keep that private.

Events like this make me feel immsensely Dutch - it's wonderful to see everyone happy for Willem Alexander and Maxima, and you can't go anywhere without seeing orange decorations or Dutch flags. It's a great contrast to the coronation of our queen in 1980, or even her wedding in 1966, when there were massive protests and the police had problems keeping order. This time there was only a small group of people protesting, and the only smoke bomb that was set off emitted orange smoke and was government-sponsored.

The couple are off on their honeymoon trip now, the destination of which is kept secret, though they're expect to show up at least at the Winter Olympics - the crown prince is a member of the IOC. I do wish them all the happiness in the world - today was a beautiful wedding, and I hope it'll continue to be a beautiful marriage too.

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