Royal tradition born as Dutch heir picks up €100 bill for loyal toast
Queen Beatrix and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
The €97.20 bar tab
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, who will become king of the Netherlands at the end of April, has agreed to pay the bar bill of almost €100 for a group of well-wishers toasting his health in a local pub – just as his mother Queen Beatrix did when a similar bill was sent to her 33 years ago.
Foppe ten Broek, an estate agent in his early 60s, bought the round of drinks in his local bar, De Turfhoeve, in the small town of Sevenum in the southern province of Limburg, just minutes after Queen Beatrix went on TV on January 28th to announce her surprise abdication.
Ten Broek recalled to the assembled royalists how a friend of his had done the very same thing in 1980 when the late Queen Juliana announced her abdication and her succession by her then lawyer daughter, Princess Beatrix (42).
Mr Ten Broek said his friend, Ton Rutten, had sent the bill for the drinks, written on the back of a beer mat, to Nordeinde Palace in The Hague – and had been delighted to receive a friendly thank-you letter by return, refunding the money for the celebratory toast.
On the basis of his story, Mr Ten Broek was persuaded by popular demand to do likewise, enclosing a personal letter to HRH the Prince of Orange, his future king – along with the modest bar bill of €97.20 for 27 people, and, of course, the receipt.
There was no beer mat this time and at the end of the letter he gave his bank account number for a convenient electronic transfer.
He even suggested to the crown prince: “Perhaps in the future one of my daughters can do the same thing again when you are succeeded by your daughter, Amalia – making this a proper and lasting tradition.”
At the moment, the new heir apparent to the Dutch throne, Princess Amalia – the eldest of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander’s three daughters – is aged nine.
Three weeks later, Mr Ten Broek received the reply from Nordeinde Palace which confirmed he did indeed appear to have established a new royal tradition in the Netherlands.
The letter, signed by Willem-Alexander’s private secretary, Joost Klarenbeek, thanked him for his good wishes to the queen and her heir, and said that Willem-Alexander would be happy to pick up the tab, although it added – in these recessionary times – “as a one-off”.
The letter also said that on the prince’s instructions the beer mat from 1980 had been successfully tracked down – stored in the royal archives.