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Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, born April 27, 1967, in Utrecht, Prince of the Netherlands and Prince of Orange.

The eldest son of Queen Beatrix and Claus von Amsberg, he is the first male heir to the Dutch throne in 116 years.

Prince Willem-Alexander was educated at a Protestant grammar school in The Hague, where he mixed with children from all social backgrounds. He has been groomed in state affairs to one day assume the Dutch throne. He earned a degree in history from Leiden University and is an expert in international water management[?] issues. Prince Willem-Alexander is both an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN and the Swedish Ministry of Development.

The prince is a member of the Raad van State, the highest council to the Dutch government that is chaired by his mother. As part of his Royal duties, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army, Navy and Air Force and was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). On behalf of the Crown, the Prince carries out various representative duties.

He is an avid pilot and sportsman. In 1989, the Prince flew as a volunteer for the "African Medical Research and Education Foundation" (AMREF) in Kenya and in 1991 he spent a month flying for the Kenya Wildlife Service. Using the name "Van Buren," one of the other, lesser-known surnames of the House of Oranje-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City marathon where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several of the Royal family cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities skating marathon.

On February 2, 2002, he married Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, upholding the tradition in the Dutch monarchy of choosing a controversial partner. Like all Dutch monarchs, Prince Willem-Alexander is a member of the Protestant Dutch Reformed church but, unlike the highly controversial 1964 marriage to a Roman Catholic by his aunt, the Princess Irene, religion was not an issue in the Prince's marriage but the matter of Maxima's father was. Maxima is the daughter of Jorge Zorreguieta Stefanini, a former member of Jorge Videla's[?] brutal military dictatorship that ruled Argentina during the 1970s.

On June 18, 2003, the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst[?] (National Bureau for Government Information) announced that Prinses Maxima is pregnant. The birth of the first child of the pair is expected for January 2004. This will be the second grandchild for Queen Beatrix.



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