Name at birth: Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand
King Willem-Alexander became ruler of The Netherlands on 30 April 2013 after the official abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix. He is the first child of Beatrix and her husband, Prince Claus. ("On his birth, he received the titles of Prince of the Netherlands and Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg," according to the Royal Family's official site.) Willem-Alexander attended Atlantic College in Llantwit Major, Wales, gaining an International Baccalaureate in 1985. After two years of military service in the Royal Netherlands Navy (August 1985-January 1987), he went to Leiden University and earned a history degree in 1993; according to DutchNews.nl, his love of partying and beer while there earned him the nickname "Prince Pils." He later earned a military pilot's license and devoted himself to the study of Dutch government and history in preparation for his future role as the country's king. Known as the Prince of Orange, he also pursued interests in the environment and water quality, serving as chairman of the UN's water and sanitation advisory board (UNSGAB). He married Maxima Zorreguieta, a former investment banker from Argentina, on 2 February 2002. The marriage was a bit controversial: her father was a former member of Argentina's military junta. (The controversy echoed that surrounding his mother's marriage to his father, a former member of the Hitler Youth.) King Willem-Alexander and his wife have three children: Catharina-Amalia (born 7 December 2003), Alexia (b. 26 June 2005) and Ariane (b. 10 April 2007). Queen Beatrix announced on 28 January 2003 her plans to abdicate on April 30th of that year; her son succeeded her on that day, taking the title of King Willem-Alexander.
Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since William III, who ruled from 1849-1890. He was followed by Queen Wilhelmina (1890-1948), Queen Juliana (1948-80), and Queen Beatrix (1980-2013). After her abdication, Queen Beatrix became known as Princess Beatrix… Willem-Alexander is an athlete and enthusiastic sportsman; he skated the legendary 125-mile (200-kilometer) Eleven Cities ice-skating marathon — the Elfstedentocht — under the name “W.A. van Buren” in 1986… Upon the death of his father in 2002, he became head of the German House of Amsberg.
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