Most 17-year-olds would leap at the chance to get a R26 million allowance but Princess Catharina-Amalia is no ordinary teen – and she’s determined that she won’t be an ordinary monarch either.
When the eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander (54) and Queen Máxima (50) turns 18 in December she will be entitled to a $1,9-million (R26,7m) annual allowance until she ascends the throne as queen.
But the princess is having none of it.
In a hand-written letter sent to Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte earlier this month, she explained her reasons for turning down the hefty sum.
“On 7 December 2021 I will be 18 and, according to the law, receive an allowance," Princess Amalia wrote in the letter which was published by Dutch news site NOS.
“I find that uncomfortable as long as I do not do anything for it in return, and while other students have a much tougher time of it, particularly in this period of coronavirus.”
She said she intends repaying the nearly $400 000 (R5,6m) she received during her time as a learner and will not claim her $1,9m allowance "until I incur high costs in my role as Princess of Orange".
Amalia has announced she intends taking a gap year before starting her undergraduate studies.
"I want to travel a little, discover the world, do things that I may not be able to do in 20 years' time," she told reporters in April.
The princess recently passed her final high school exams at Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet in The Hague, one of the top-ranked schools in the Netherlands, graduating with distinction.
"I just got a call with the news that I passed!" she said. "I want to congratulate all other graduates and wish other students good luck with any resits in the second period."
Princess Amalia’s family are incredibly proud of her decision to stand on her two feet, although her mother, Queen Máxima, admits she’s not quite ready to think of her little girl as a monarch.
“I don’t see her as the future queen,” Máxima said of her firstborn, according to Royal Central. “I still see her as my little baby. She is doing really well.”
The mom-of-three added, “She is very responsible. She realises what her future will be but handles it really well. She takes her time, and she is a wonderful human being.”
In April 2013, Princess Catharina-Amalia’s father King Willem-Alexander assumed the title of Dutch monarch after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated. This means that the princess is the next in line to ascend the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which includes the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten.
Amalia’s groundbreaking decision comes amid tense discussions about the state funds given to King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and their daughter and heir. The Dutch government has agreed to review the annual cost of its royal family, following pressure from the opposition party.
According to a 2012 study, the Dutch royals get the most generous allowance in Europe, even overtaking the British royal family.
Dutch government has allocated $57m (R798m) for the royal family this year, which includes a salary of $1m (R14m) for the king as well as $6m (R84m) in official expenses, while his wife will receive $1,3m (R18,2m) and his mother $2m (R28m).
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima also faced criticism last year after jetting off to their holiday home in Greece amid the pandemic. The family had to cut short their trip and issue an apology after returning home.
Despite this gaffe the members of the House of Orange-Nassau live a relatively low-key, drama-free existence.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima first met at the 1999 Seville Festival in Spain. When first introducing himself to the Argentina-born Máxima Zorreguieta, he said his name was merely Alexander– no mention at all about him being the Prince of Orange.
When love bloomed, the pair met regularly in New York, where Máxima was working for top banking firm Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.
Within two years Willem-Alexander proposed to Máxima while they were ice skating on the frozen lake of the Dutch royal family’s residence, Huis ten Bosch, and the family began planning their lavish wedding.
These days the king, who is Europe's second-youngest monarch after Spain’s Felipe VI (53), and his stylish wife head up one of the most prominent households in Europe – and are as in love as ever.
Earlier this year, King Willem-Alexander recreated their romantic engagement on Valentine’s Day and shared it with the public on Instagram.
In an interview celebrating her 50th birthday in May, Máxima heaped praise on her husband calling him “my anchor”.
“He keeps me sharp, and he pushes me to do my job while holding me tight. That combination is fantastic.”
Besides Princess Amalia, the pair also have two other daughters, Princess Alexia (15) and Princess Ariane (14).
Like her elder sister, Alexia is also making big moves.
The official website for the Royal House of the Netherlands recently issued a statement announcing that she would leave Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet after completing her fourth year and continue her high-school education at the UWC Atlantic College in Wales.
Following in the footsteps of her father, who attended the college as a teenager, Alexia is expected to join the elite institution later this year – joining the same 2023 graduating class as Princess Leonor of Asturias, the future queen of spain.
Dubbed “Hogwarts for hippies” by British newspaper The Times, it’s a favourite with international royals, attended by the likes of recent-graduate Princess Elisabeth of Belgium and Crown Princess Raiyah of Jordan (now 35).
Princess Alexia’s move means Princess Ariane will soon be the only one of her siblings left at Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet, and in the family’s palatial home Huis ten Bosch.
SOURCES: PEOPLE.COM, TATLER.COM, HOLA.COM, BBC.COM, DUTCHREVIEW.COM, STANDARD.CO.UK, SCMP.COM, VANITYFAIR.COM