Contrast with previous Prinsjesdagen is great, ‘I miss Oranjefranje’

Yes, there were eye-catching hats and the king read the Speech from the Throne, but apart from that, a lot was different on Budget Day 2020. Instead of the usual hordes of Orange fans, a few hundred spectators were gathered along the route and at Noordeinde Palace.

Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague looks back with satisfaction on the course of the royal ceremony. People responded en masse to his call to stay at home mainly because of the corona crisis.

I miss it

Fans of Orange understand that it is no different. I do miss the Orange Fans a bit, says a woman at Noordeinde Palace. We have been coming here for years, always wearing an Orange hat. But this year it is different.

Click here for an overview of this exceptional edition of Prinsjesdag:

The programme starts at the Binnenhof, which is closed to the public. White vans are ready to transport the parliamentarians to the Grote Kerk. In contrast to previous years, the Speech from the Throne will take place there and not in the Knights‘ Hall. The members of parliament who take the bus wear mouth caps specially made for Prinsjesdag.

But some prefer to wear a different mouth mask:

As GroenLinks-Kamerlid Bromet already writes, it is a remarkably warm day. In the end, it even becomes a record: never before has a tropical day (30+ degrees) been recorded this late in the year since measurements began.

Because of the weather, several members of parliament go on foot from the Binnenhof to the Grote Kerk. And despite the bright sunshine, or just to protect against it, a number of ministers and members of parliament traditionally wear eye-catching hats and headgear.

In the Grote Kerk or St James’s Church, politicians gather for the Speech from the Throne. The red chairs are at a distance from each other, so dozens of Members of Parliament cannot be there because of the coronation measures. Some 270 people are allowed to be present, in contrast to the approximately one thousand guests in the Knights‘ Hall.

VVD MP Wiersma announces via Twitter that he is following Prinsjesdag at home with his family:

The corona crisis is unprecedented in our history, Upper House chairman Jan Anthonie Bruijn opens the floor in the Grote Kerk. We think of the people who have died and the relatives they have to miss

We are waiting for the royal family. At Noordeinde Palace dozens to a hundred Orange fans gather who hope to see Willem-Alexander and Mรกxima. They ignore the urgent request to stay away and not all spectators keep enough distance.

Normally it sounds Wilhelmus when the royal couple leaves the palace. But this time only applause can be heard from bystanders:

For the first time since 1974 there is no Golden or Glass Coach; Willem-Alexander and Mรกxima are picked up by car. Apart from the escorting motorbikes and cars, there is no ceremonial accompaniment along the route.

Around the Grote Kerk there are white fences; there are no spectators at the arrival of the royal couple. The Wilhelmus can be heard in the church, but no one is allowed to sing along.

Anders-dan-others-Prinsjesdag’

The corona virus suddenly changed everything this spring, begins King Willem-Alexander the Speech from the Throne. This different-than-other-Princes Day at a distance of one and a half metres, not in the Knights’ Hall, and with fewer people, traditions and exuberant red-white-blue, makes that too tangible

Watch the full Speech from the Throne here:

After the speech, the chairman of the United Assembly asks Bruijn to get everyone up. He shouts Long live the King, but contrary to normal, no one else is allowed to shout hurray three times. This in connection with the possible spread of the coronavirus.

The President‘s facial expression after the last ‘hurrah‘ betrays that it is also a strange sensation for him:

The king and queen have to leave the church at once. Otherwise they would first withdraw into the Queen’s Room, a side room of the Knights‘ Hall. But because of the coronavirus measures this is now impossible.

There is also no balcony scene, in which the members of the Royal House present wave to the audience. As a result, there are hardly any Orange fans left in front of Noordeinde Palace. Where normally the highlight of the day is, it is now completely extinct, says CCeit reporter Martijn Bink.

By far the most fans have followed the ceremony from home. But if it’s up to them, and the pandemic is under control next year, they’ll be back next year instead of in front of the TV.