Name at birth: Willem-Alexander Claus George FerdinandKing Willem-Alexander became ruler of The Netherlands on April 30, 2013 after the official abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix. Willem-Alexander is the first child of Beatrix and her husband, Prince Claus. ("On his birth, he received the titles of Prince of the Netherlands and Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg," according to the Royal Family's official site.) Willem-Alexander attended Atlantic College in Llantwit Major, Wales, gaining an International Baccalaureate in 1985. After two years of military service in the Royal Netherlands Navy (August 1985-January 1987), he went to Leiden University and earned a history degree in 1993; according to DutchNews.nl, his love of partying and beer while there earned him the nickname "Prince Pils." He later earned a military pilot's license and devoted himself to the study of Dutch government and history in preparation for his future role as the country's king. Known as the Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander also pursued interests in the environment and water quality, serving as chairman of the UN's water and sanitation advisory board (UNSGAB). Queen Beatrix abdicated on April 30th of 2013; her son succeeded her on that day, taking the title of King Willem-Alexander. He married Maxima Zorreguieta, a former investment banker from Argentina, on February 2, 2002. The marriage was a bit controversial: her father was a former member of Argentina's military junta. (The controversy echoed that surrounding his mother's marriage to his father, a former member of the Hitler Youth.) King Willem-Alexander and his wife have three children: Catharina-Amalia (born December 7, 2003), Alexia (b. June 26, 2005) and Ariane (b. April 10, 2007). Catharina-Amilia, known as the Princess of Orange, is the heir apparent to the crown.
Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since William III, who ruled from 1849-1890. He was followed by Queen Wilhelmina (1890-1948), Queen Juliana (1948-80), and Queen Beatrix (1980-2013). After her abdication, Queen Beatrix became known as Princess Beatrix? Willem-Alexander is an athlete and enthusiastic sportsman; in 1986 he skated the legendary 125-mile (200-kilometer) Eleven Cities ice-skating marathon ? the Elfstedentocht ? under the name ?W.A. van Buren?? Upon the death of his father in 2002, he became head of the German House of Amsberg.
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