Prince's Day 2018: programme
12.45 hrs - The Glass Coach leaves the Royal Stables for Noordeinde Palace
13.00 hrs - The royal procession leaves Noordeinde Palace to travel to the Binnenhof
13.15 hrs - Speech from the Throne in the Hall of Knights
13.50 hrs - The Glass Coach leaves the Binnenhof heading for Noordeinde Palace
14.00 hrs - Balcony scene at Noordeinde Palace
15.00 hrs - Minister of Finance Hoekstra presents the briefcase containing the budget memorandum and the national budget to the House of Representatives
Speech from the Throne
"Members of the States General". Those are the opening words of the Speech from the Throne. King Willem-Alexander delivers the speech before the joint sitting of the States General in his capacity as Head of State, on behalf of the Government. In this text, the Government describes how the Netherlands is doing and outlines its major plans for the coming year.
Long live the King!
King Willem-Alexander does not write the Speech from the Throne himself; the ministers do. Every minister makes a contribution in his or her field of policy. Subsequently, the Prime Minister discusses the text with the King. The Speech from the Throne is finalized during the last Council of Ministers before Prince's Day, so that it can be published in the Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Prince's Day.
Members of the Royal House, the Cabinet and other invited guests attend the Speech from the Throne in the Hall of Knights. After the closing words of the Speech from the Throne the chairperson of the Joint Sitting cheers the monarch: “Long live the King!”. This tradition dates back to 1897, when Mr Donner MP got very enthusiastic about the presence of Queen Wilhelmina, who was still underage, beside her mother Queen-regent Emma, and shouted "Long live the Queens".
After the Speech from the Throne, the members of the House of Representatives make their way to the Plenary Hall. At 3.00 pm the minister of Finance, Hoekstra, presents to the House the Budget Memorandum and the national budget for the coming year, in a briefcase labelled ‘Third Tuesday of September’.
After Prince's Day: General Political Debate
What happens to the content of that briefcase? Immediately after Prince's Day, the leaders of the parliamentary groups discuss the headlines of the Budget Memorandum and the national budget during the so-called General Political Debate about the Budget Memorandum, which generally takes two days. This year, as an exception, that debate is not held on the Wednesday and Thursday following Prince's Day, but on Wednesday 19 and Friday 21 September 2018. This is due to Prime Minister Rutte's wanting to attend an informal summit with the other European heads of state and governments in Vienna about illegal migration and security.