Every third Tuesday in September (Prinsjesdag or Princes' Day) the Queen reads a speech written by the Minister of Finance. It's the Law! But just reading a speech filled with boring financial stuff is ehm... well... boring. So, they show a bit of history, by going towards the place where the speech is held (forgive me, I have forgotten where exactly) in the old fashioned way. Horse and carriage, accompied and surrounded by military personel and marching bands. You could call it the Royal Parade, but there is no Micky Mouse on a float in sight!
Anyway, I have been there once before in 2001. Only a few days after those horrid events in New York happened. The parade was sober then. Yes, the masses of people were still there, but there wasn't any music being played and the ordinary folk (from Flevoland that year, the province I hail from) had to make do with a parade that was very toned down. And the photo I took of the Queen that year? Click here to find out how it looked.
|The Royal Marechaussee|
So, this year I had another chance. After all, this year I was driving the marching band! So, the drums and tubas went into the hold of the coach and we drove towards the stable block of Paleis Noordeinde (the home of our Queen Beatrix). We stopped (four coaches in all) and let everyone off and then had to wait until Prince Willem Alexander (her heir) had driven past. I had the camera at the ready, but alas, he took a different route. So, we turned our coaches.
|The (empty) Golden Carriage|
Now I had the time to take a photo of the Queen. I walked towards the music and saw several carriages come out of the stable blocks. Plus lots of very uniformed people on horseback. And then finally: the Golden Carriage! EMPTY!!! No getting into a carriage in the stable block for her, she would be picked up from her front door.
So, no Prince Willem Alexander and no Queen Beatrix. Just a lot of horses' poo!