Some 1,200 guests gathered in The Hague to see the Netherlands’ seven-month-old future queen, Princess Catharina-Amalia, christened on Saturday.
Proud parents Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Crown Princess Maxima were clearly thrilled, smiling throughout a ceremony remarkable for its sense of fun and celebration. As for little Catharina-Amalia, she was totally unfazed by the goings-on, causing laughter by yawning when the officiating Protestant minister, Carel ter Linden, sprinkled her with water brought specially from the river Jordan for the occasion.
During the service, the godparents, who include Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and the parents’ brothers, Prince Constantijn and Martin Zorreguieta, gathered around the font to bestow their wishes for the future on the little princess. “Enjoy life and try to see every situation in a postive light,” advised Sweden’s Victoria, who is currently Europe’s only crown princess by birth. “May you find joy in helping others.”
Although this was a family affair rather than a state ceremony, thousands of well-wishers lined the streets around St Jacob’s Church to catch a glimpse of the royals arriving. And because it was not a state occasion, Maxima’s parents were able to attend: her father Jorge Zorreguieta was banned from his daughter’s 2002 wedding because he had served as a minister in Argentina’s 1976-83 government, during which tens of thousands of people disappeared and are presumed dead.
To help celebrate Catharina-Amalia’s christening, Willem and Maxima made a gift of specially minted coins to all other children born on the same day as their daughter – December 7, 2003.