Leopold Hoesch
Julia Melchior
1 x 45'
Máxima und Willem-Alexander
Frischer Wind auf Hollands Thron

It was an event of superlatives - the accession of King Willem-Alexander to the throne. In a solemn act on 30 April 2013, Queen Beatrix handed over the highest office in the state to her eldest son and cleared the way for the most dazzling royal couple Europe has to offer today: Willem-Alexander and his Máxima.

They have ushered in the royal dawn. Willem-Alexander and Máxima are the first of their generation to ascend the throne. A few weeks later, Philippe and Mathilde of Belgium did the same, and it is only a matter of time before they are followed by couples from Scandinavia to Spain.

Willem-Alexander and Máxima are a breath of fresh air on the Orange throne. Willem-Alexander has hardly any political influence. His role in governance was still limited in Beatrix's time. But the reorganisation of the balance of power suited his self-image as a hereditary monarch in the 21st century. He wants to unite, represent and encourage society and thus lead the monarchy into the future, Willem-Alexander declared before taking office.

The most important link to the people and the most beautiful trademark of the monarchy is his wife Máxima. The good-humoured queen fills her role with dedication and brings colour to the Dutch royal house. A true 'Maximanie' has gripped the nation. Hardly anyone can escape her radiance. However, Máxima is not only the pretty one at the monarch's side, she is also allowed to take the sceptre herself - as Queen Regent: on 3 December 2013, the parliament decided without a single dissenting vote that Máxima should lead the nation's fortunes until her daughter Amalia comes of age, should something happen to Willem-Alexander.

The Dutch royal family has painfully experienced how unprepared fate can snatch a much too young person from life. After a year and a half in a coma, Prince Friso died on 12 August 2013 as a result of brain damage suffered in an avalanche accident. Willem-Alexander's brother was buried in the cemetery in front of Drakensteyn Castle. This is where Beatrix lived her most carefree years with her husband and children until she took over the royal dignity from her mother in 1981, and this is where she returned after handing over the office to the next generation.

One year after the ceremonial change of throne, ZDFzeit looks at the moving events at the Dutch court and portrays the new royal couple on the Orange throne. What has changed with the generational change? What accents does the new king set? What role does Máxima play? And what does the office mean for the family? Filmmaker and royal house expert Julia Melchior went in search of clues, experienced the royal couple up close and spoke with family and friends, advisors and observers. In expressive images, the film provides valuable insights behind the scenes of the Dutch royal family.

First broadcast: Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 20:15, ZDF.

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