I am not sure if this is the right thread, because it is more about Juliana, but I didn't like to start a new one.
This is a great translation from Henri M. about an article about the former Prime Minster of the NL Dries van Agt and work with two Queens.
As premier mr. A.A.M. van Agt preferred the businesslike approach of Queen Beatrix above the emotionalism of her mother Queen Juliana. But according to his biographers, the relationship between Van Agt and Queen Beatrix was not so good.
Mr. A.A.M. ('Dries') van Agt, premier between 1977 and 1981, served two Queens. He once described the difference between Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix on the basis of a small detail: Juliana 'did' the tea herself, Beatrix ordered a servant to take care for the tea.
Van Agt reviewed the daughter, behind the screens nicked as "Huis ten Bosch-girl" as a Majesty. The weekly audiences with Queen Beatrix were less cosy and domestic. Yet Van Agt choses, when it was about the contents, the businesslike approach of Queen Beatrix above the emotionalism of her mother.
These observations are published in the biography by the historians Johan van Merriënboer, Peter Bootsma and Peter van Griensven on the former premier under the title 'Van Agt. Tour de Force'.
One of the thorny issues which Van Agt had to handle as premier was the abdication of Queen Juliana and the Investiture of Queen Beatrix. The Investiture took place in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, next to the Royal Palace on Dam Square, while violent riots raged in the city, initiated by the Amsterdam squatters' movement.
When Van Agt started as a young Minister of Justice in 1971, he had great respect for the monarchy. 'You have a bit of a romantic-idealistic image. The Royal House, that was something mythical to me. Something sacred.' The first time he went on audience with the Queen, he was somewhat stiff and unsecure in the chair opposite Queen Juliana. 'In the beginning I was a bit intimidated, but that was not so long. Everything eases', he said afterwards.
The audiences with Queen Juliana were informal and there was little order in the talks. Van Agt, a former professor who became Minister of Justice, was used to sharp juridical debates. Queen Juliana was an emotional lady and was concerned about people in distress.
Van Agt had to get used to it. Although the Queen was 'as a human, authentic and delicious' he kept distance to her. The queen was also stubborn and sometimes small-minded. In 1984 (Van Agt was the Queen's Commissioner in Brabant / HM) Princess Juliana went to Nuenen to open a Vincent van Gogh-exhibition. The local vicar who was part of the entourage was given a reprimand by Princess Juliana because there were no ashtrays and she had to wait a long time on a drink. Queen Juliana was quite accustomed to smoking and drinking.
Van Agt has subsequently played down that the Queen had a dislike for his centre-right Cabinet because she had a preference for the left. According to him Queen Juliana had, as head of state, even if her heart was for the left, just wanted a solid cabinet. And the Cabinet-Van Agt I, with a majority of 77 seats was not solid (it would make the full term of 4 years however /HM).
The impending abdication was also the reason that Van Agt abstained political support to the radical cuts in the Budget by the Minister of Finances, mr. Frans Andriessen. The minister resigned from Office.
According to mr. H. Wiegel (then the vice-premier) also their political survival played a role. If the Cabinet had fallen, he said yesterday during the presentation of the book, there was chance on the so-hated Second Cabinet Den Uyl.
The biographers consider it one of the biggest political manoeuvres by Van Agt that he knew how to obstruct the forming of a second Cabinet Den Uyl. This was not only a breakthrough into the progressive dominance and arrogance in those days, but he also contributed greatly to the formation and the forming of the CDA (the Christian-Democrats), which was not yet formally existing.
With his tricks Van Agt took the blood under the nails away from the progressive politicians. An example: on a tensed day in the formation of a new Cabinet in 1977, he clamly went to Boxmeer in Brabant for a launch of a local bicycle racing event.
Also Queen Juliana, who was waiting for a new Cabinet, was outraged about this 'lack of duty'. Or he could explain that, so asked the Queen? 'Your Majesty', as a baffled Van Agt tried to respond: 'I can not explain you. Because here we encounter the difference between Rome and the reformation.' Queen Juliana looked equally baffled to him and then gave him a warm smile.
The preparation of the Investiture also was a typical Dutch minefield of sensitivities. Van Agt suggested that a Catholic element should be given a place at the inauguration. Why not the Mastreechter Staar (a famous male choir from Maatsricht) invited, the chant the prayer for the Queen 'Domine, salvam fac Reginam nostram'?
That advice was accepted, but the two chants that the choir would perform at the end of the Investiture at the end of the ceremony, made an official from the Court stating: 'No more typical Catholic songs please'.
The Cabinet rejected a proposal by Queen Juliana to grant pardons to prisoners for the occasion of her abdication. When Van Agt shortly afterwards visited Japan, the Queen requested the vice-premier to Lange Voorhout Palace and made another plea for pardons to prisoners.
According to Van Agt the story that Queen Beatrix would have enforced that 30 April would remain Queen's Day was highly exaggerated. He himself saw no objection in the idea to celebrate the Queen's birthday on Liberation Day (May 5th), but Princess Beatrix wanted that Queen's Day would remain connected with her mother. And so it happened. On Inauguration Day the heavy riots in the city caused 600 injured and the damage was into the millions.
According to the biographers that was the price for the decision not to shoot on the riotters. Amsterdam was given that space but the Minister of Justice immediately ended this: if there would be deaths on this day, this would forever mark that day.
According to biographers there was no chemistry between Queen Beatrix and premier Van Agt. The premier strongly tended to relativise and improvise, while the Queen just wanted to exclude as many uncertainties as possible, by having a perfect organization. Van Agt was too unpredictable for her. During the formation of 1981, when the CDA-leader against his wishes was forced into a coalition with Labour, Queen Beatrix would have said to him: 'Mr. Van Agt, behave more statesmanlike'. Van Agt subsequently told that to one of its officials, but later he could no longer recall this.
Mr. Van Agt regarded Queen Beatrix, with whom his successor mr. R. Lubbers would cooperate very good, as a strong, clear and highly intellectual person. Queen Beatrix prepared well for the weekly audiences with the premier and worked systematically. According to Van Agt she left "no any question unquestioned." So now and then he collapsed for her charms, but not always gave in. For example, he pointed to the suggestion of Princess Beatrix to wear 'a mantelpak' (deux-pièces) on her Investiture. She wanted to present herself as a modern Queen. Van Agt replied the Princess better should stick to tradition and wear the traditional ermine cloak, because of the 'sacral dimension' of the kingship.
I think I don't like him because in a kind of way he hurt the "Secret of Noordeinde/Huis ten Bosch" or former "Secret of Soestdijk": You don't talk about the talks with the Queen!
I have always the feeling that he tries to tell stories he should not tell but he brings them in a way so that he comes out fine.