October 3, 2023

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Viewer questions: Here’s what you need to know about Prinsjesdag

Viewer questions: Here’s what you need to know about Prinsjesdag

It’s budget day! On the third Tuesday of September, the entire city of The Hague comes out to hear the King’s speech from the throne. But what do you really want to know about this day? We’ve collected the best viewer questions about Prinsjesdag.

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1) Are hats mandatory on Budget Day?

Ladies are not required to wear a hat on Budget Day, but it has become a fun tradition over the years. In essence, this is not protocol, not even for the royal family. Although they often wear a hat, headband, or hair ornament. Also, Queen Máxima doesn’t always wear a hat. For example, she regularly chooses a hair accessory instead of a hat. For example, in 2020. There, the Queen chose a yellow dress with ruffles, and finished it off with a golden hair ornament designed by Fabienne Delevingne. Here you can read more about the origins of the hat tradition.

2) Do you really have to be 18 to go to Budget Day?

Members of the Royal Household may attend Budget Day from their 18th birthday. Although this is an unwritten rule for oranges. When we look at history, we see that most princes and princesses were allowed to listen to the throne speech for the first time in the Knights Hall at the age of eighteen.

Budget Day 1985

1985: Prince Willem-Alexander during his “first” budget day.

Prince Willem-Alexander was there for the first time in 1985, after his 18th birthday. His brother Prince Friso turned just eighteen days after Budget Day, meaning he was not in Riedersaal in 1986. That year, he sat for the family photo on the steps of Nordinde Palace. Princess Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margaret and Princess Christina were also welcomed on Budget Day just after their 18th birthday.

Alexia Amalia Prinsgesdag 2023

Princesses Amalia and Alexia sit next to Prince Constantine and Princess Laurentian during the throne speech.

The princesses do not have to be present on the third Tuesday of September every year.

3) Why isn’t King Willem-Alexander allowed to write the speech from the throne himself?

The King does not write the Speech from the Throne himself, but only delivers it on Budget Day. After all, the king is a member of the government, not the cabinet. The Throne Speech is the formal presentation of the Cabinet’s plans, something in which the King is not involved. So it makes sense that Willem-Alexander does not write the Throne Speech, but leaves that to the responsible ministers.

The king reads the speech from the throne

2022: King Willem-Alexander reads the speech from the throne.

If the King is unexpectedly unable to attend on Budget Day, the Prime Minister can take charge of announcing the plans. Although it is not called a word from the throne, but rather an opening word. This has happened once before. In 1947, Queen Wilhelmina was seriously ill and Prime Minister Louis Peel read the inaugural address at Riedersaal.

4) What decorations do the King and Queen wear on Budget Day?

On Budget Day, the court always announces what members of the Royal Household are wearing. This is special, because they do not do this on other special moments such as King’s Day. On the site we also find information about the awards worn by the King, Queen and Princesses. We’ll list them for you!

Princess Amalia: The Princess of Orange wears the Ribbon of the Order and the Star of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dutch Lion on Budget Day.


2022: Princess Amalia on Budget Day.

Queen Máxima: Máxima wears the Order Ribbon and the Grand Cross Star of the Order of the Dutch Lion.

Maxima-prinsjesdag award

2021: Queen Máxima on Budget Day.

King Willem-Alexander: The King wears the badge of the Military Order of William on Budget Day.

Willem-Alexander Prinsgesdag Prize

2022: King Willem-Alexander on Budget Day.

Princess Alexia: Princess Alexia wears the Order Ribbon and Grand Cross Star of the Order of the Dutch Lion.

Prince Alexia Day

2023: Princess Alexia on Budget Day.

5) Why is transportation used?

Of course it would be much easier if members of the Royal House arrived by car or bicycle. However, a trolley is used on Budget Day every year. Why is this anyway? It’s part of the tradition. When the budget day started, there was no other means of transportation other than the rickshaw. They kept this carriage to maintain the festive atmosphere surrounding the opening of the parliamentary year.

Tradition is respected as much as possible, with few exceptions. For example, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard arrived in 1974 by car rather than a carriage. Because of the hostage-taking at the French Embassy that year, there was no room for ceremonial displays on Budget Day.

Maxima car on Prince's Day

King Willem-Alexander also arrived by car once. In 2020, due to Covid, it was not possible to travel to the Throne Speech by carriage.

Photos: Afghan National Police

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