King Willem-Alexander has been the King of the Netherlands since 2013 and has recently revealed that he has been keeping a long-held secret for many years.
No, he does not secretly have four wives or a child from a secret affair. His secret is that he has been living a double life as a commercial airline pilot — for 21 years!
The King says that only a few people in his life know about his secret career. He considers flying a hobby and even finds it to be a nice distraction from his regular royal duties. To find out more about his double life, continue reading below!
The 50-year-old Dutch King works as a commercial airline pilot for KLM.
King Willem-Alexander currently works as a pilot part time, typically flying short flights in and around Europe while avoiding overnight flights in the case that he needs to return to the Netherlands on short notice.
The king recently revealed his secret in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, where he admitted that he copilots two flights a month for Netherland’s flag carrier airline, KLM.
“You have a plane, passengers, and crew and you are responsible for them. You can’t take your problems with you off the ground. You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else,” he said.
King Willem-Alexander gained his flight experience when he served in the Dutch air force.
“For the relatively few flying hours the king makes, he is always very sharp. He knows the procedures well. Very well,” says KLM captain Maarten Putman, who regularly copilots with the king.
The king’s secret double life comes out after KLM’s recent announcement that they are retiring the narrow-body aircraft King Willem-Alexander has been flying all these years, the Fokker 70.
The narrow-body regional jet will be replaced with the larger Boeing 737s, which means that the king will have to be certified by them in order to continue flying.
The king says that he is never recognized when he walks through an airport with his pilot’s uniform on and that he has never given his name while speaking to passengers on the intercom.
The king admits that when he is speaking on the intercom, he states that is speaking on behalf of the captain and that it is very rare that people recognize his voice.
“The advantage is that I can always say I am speaking on behalf of the captain and crew to welcome them on board, so I don’t have to say my name,” he said in the interview.
“But then, most people don’t listen anyway.”
King Willem-Alexander is a 50-year-old father of 3 and is currently the monarch to 17 million Dutch citizens. He considers flying a hobby that momentarily distracts him from his royal duties, allowing him to focus solely on flying.
“That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying,” the king told De Telegraaf.
“You have an aircraft, passengers, and crew. You have responsibility for them” he continued.
King Willem-Alexander has been working primarily as a guest flier and co-pilot twice a month for all these years. He will be ending his role as a guest pilot after 21 years to retrain to fly the Boeing 737.