Breaking news today implicates the leader of one of the world’s most respected democracies in a scandal involving years of deception right underneath the noses of the very people he’s meant to serve.
No — I’m not talking about the orange-skinned man living in the White House, I’m talking about the leader of the House of Orange, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. And as far as “scandals” go, it’s downright adorable.
You see, King Willem-Alexander has been piloting KLM aircraft incognito for the last 21 years. Really. Per Sky News:
The king of the Netherlands has revealed he has been living a secret double life as a co-pilot for a commercial airline.
For 21 years, King Willem-Alexander has taken to the skies twice a month to ferry passengers around on short-haul services for the Dutch airline KLM.
Although travellers may have recognised the monarch’s voice as he updated them on weather conditions and their time of arrival, the royal’s presence was never revealed.
This is your captain (and your King) speaking…
The BBC adds that, prior to ascending to the throne in 2013, it was an open secret that the then-Prince would appear as a so-called “guest pilot” on KLM in order to maintain his pilot’s license, but:
What was not clear was that he was co-piloting passenger flights incognito, twice a month as king, often with KLM Captain Maarten Putman.
The Dutch government said last month that he had flown Fokker 70 aircraft for both the government and KLM Cityhopper service, and that the plane was being replaced this year with a 737. Cityhopper flights are aimed mainly at business travellers in dozens of European destinations, particularly in the UK, Germany and Norway.
Well, if I didn’t love KLM and the Netherlands enough as it is already, this is the cherry on top. How charming, thoughtful, quirky and so thoroughly Dutch of the King, and KLM, to “secretly” fly passengers on short hops around Europe. Best of all, few seem to have been the wiser despite his PA announcements!
I’ve flown with royalty before (well… Motown royalty), but never by royalty!
If you regularly fly on KLM, do you think you might have been flown by the King of the Netherlands before?