I am sure that option was suggested in petit comité to Mr King but as we know he had the carriage restored to its original form and now he is left with no other option but to put it behind closed royal mews doors. Well done Sir!
I find the interior decorating choices (made for them by some overpaid home stylist) of this couple quite bold and not in a good way but taste is highly personal and we see evidence in that in both Huis ten Bosch (absolutely ghastly what they have done to the ground floor rooms with the exception of the Hal) and Noordeinde were the small ball room f.i. has been turned into an equal bizarre ecclectic mess they both seem to love. And those horrid draperies and 'practical' table (brown!) cloths (Puti Room) are everywhere... I can go on and on... Beatrix also made some strange choices in her day (I will only mention the galactic teepee at the back of Noordeinde Palace for now ) but these two.... no taste (oops now I said it).
As has become a family tradition they will either neglect, auction or sell to the State as much as they can to avoid paying for all the upkeep so I am sure the royal collection will be reduced to some odd nick nacks including no doubt that unsellable ghastly gold carriage which WA seems to love so much.
He and Max love bling so at least the jewels will be kept, well as long as he doesn't have to compensate his aunts or cousins for their share in the family foundation at some point. Legally his mother and aunts (and then their heirs) all remain share holders I was once told.
I must say it always surprised me that so many obscure old jewels popped up restored and sparkling over the years....but I believe we only have one person to thank for that!
A much simpler solution would be to take out the panels and replace them with copies of what is on the other side. That would solve the issue of no longer offending people with what is displayed. The original panels could be loaned for exhibitions and the coach could be used for special events. I could see it in that way work for the investiture of a sovereign. It would be honouring the gift of the citizens of Amsterdam in that city. At the same time it would leave the glass coach (a much more elegant carriage) for Prinsjesdag.
Willem-Alexander has been trained as an historian but does not seem to be very eager about history. It was his wife who took a role in Paleis 't Loo museum (= the museum with the task to exhibit the links between the country and the reigning dynasty).
He did not buy palace Lange Voorhout to be the city residence of the heir to the throne and also agreed to let Soestdijk go. Yet seems keen to buy new properties in Argentina, Africa or Greece. He had ancestral portraits removed in both the blue and green drawing rooms of Huis ten Bosch and replaced them with representations of his own, his wife and their oldest daughter's DNA in one and images of his and Maxima's life in the other.
Yes modern works of art but at the cost of historical portraits that Queen Emma and Queen Wilhelmina carefully collected. Buying a new race boat instead of picking up the bill for the upkeep of his mother's yacht or returning his grandparents' yacht to Royal use. There is a pattern where the king seems to prefer new bling and is willing to let go of historic family pieces for it.
Im glad Juliana put most valuable pieces in trusts but i wonder what will happen in decades to come.
'Once the discussions have concluded and Dutch society is ready for the coach to be used again he or his successor can start to use the coach again.'.....
The issue here is that WA does not like to be told what to do by anyone and certainly not by 'woke' public opinion. He's a very bad historian, always was, His and other's argument that we should not remove certain symbols just because we view them differently now should really be ashamed. Can you imagine using that argument to keep symbols from a more recent traumatic era in our history in the public space? Notwithstanding the brief hype surrounding the coming of age of Amalia, WA is rapidly falling in obscurity because now also his public role is further diminished - by the pandemic - and he feels it so he holds on to whatever he has left even if it's the most ridiculous of royal attributes: a ghastly ostentatious golden carriage unfitting our monarchy that's only rivalled in obscene opulence by the Golden State Coach in the UK. Sadly WA continues to lack any common sense and vision. He would have been applauded nationwide - except perhaps by extreme right wing politicians - if he simply had said: this coach does not belong in the 21 century monarchy in the Netherlands and I will relegated it to the Royal museum Het Loo where it can be viewed as one of the many oddities of Dutch royal history.
The painted panels can easily be removed but as i wrote the current sovereign considers that historic fraud and does not want to participate in that.
Again the panel does no display slavery but colonial history. Both are now frowned upon in Dutch society.
At the same time those voicing strong opinions on the panel all find it completely normal to voice their moral superiority over China when it comes to human rights, Russia when it comes to gay rights and many of the Dutch third world help is linked to women's rights. So we still tell other parts of the world they are not as evolved as us and we even use economic measures (third world aide, trade connections etc) to support those claims.
I wonder how in 135 years from now Dutch citizens will judge those kind of efforts and ideas.
My take on it is that we have not learned much. The panel shows the actual importance, economically, on the world stage and morally the Dutch colonial empire had in 1898 in the country. That is a fact and something that should be discussed and openly accepted. Only if that is properly discussed can people move on. HM seems to feel that in time there may be a point where the coach can be used again. I think he might be right.
Curious fact is that the young Queen Wilhelmina really did not want any gifts for her investiture and had to be persuaded to accept the coach as it would have been an insult to the people of Amsterdam who collected the money and had it designed and build. Had Wilhelmina had her way the coach would not have existed or would have remained Amsterdam property unaccepted by her.
Nonetheless, the depictions of black and brown skinned subjects of the former Dutch colonial empire kneeling before enthroned white people still brings back associations with their former enslaved state. if it is not possible to remove the panels without necessarily destroying them I guess they might as well retire them along with the coach to a museum however unfortunate that may appear.
I have to correct you. The golden coach was made in 1898 so decades after Wilhelmina's father Willem III signed the law abolishing slavery.
However one of the side panels depicts an allegoric scene of the colonies paying tribute to the Netherlands.
It shows how important in 1898 the possession of the various colonies was for the country. Not just financial, but also for the standing of the country in the world and even in a weird way the call of bringing European prosperity, faith and values to other parts of the world.
At present the colonial past of the country is subject of various debates. The king has decided not to use the recently restored coach for the time being. Once the discussions have concluded and Dutch society is ready for the coach to be used again he or his successor can start to use the coach again. The coach belongs to the Orange-Nassau foundations so is private property.
Behind palace walls talks about the future of the coach have gone on since it went into restoration. HM has from the start refused to replace the panel as he sees that as the worst possible scenario and denying history.
Im not sure if we'll ever see the coach again. The Princess of Orange has already stated to the writer of the book that appeared for her 18th birthday that she wants to use the creme caleche as her wedding carriage.
"The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander has announced that Dutch royals will cease using a historic golden carriage amid a debate over slavery links.
Critics say that one side of the horse-drawn carriage, called De Gouden Koets, is decorated with an image that glorifies the country's colonial past". https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-59988414
Why don't they just remove the offending panels?