Princess Ariane Of The Netherlands Is Growing Up Fast

Princess Ariane of the Netherlands was born on April 10, 2007, in The Hague, Netherlands. Her father, King Willem-Alexander, and her mother, Queen Máxima, were thrilled with her arrival, viewing Ariane as the perfect addition to their ever-growing family. In the spirit of belonging and togetherness, the tiny princess was given a name starting with the letter "A" to match the names of her two older sisters, Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, and Princess Alexia. Within a few weeks, however, the newborn's health went south, generating a heart-wrenching crisis.

Things first started going wrong for Ariane around the time she turned 1 month old. Accompanying her royal parents on a ski vacation in Austria, the youngest princess of the Netherlands suddenly fell ill. Desperate, Máxima and Willem-Alexander rushed Ariane to the hospital, where she was admitted for a potential infection of the lungs. Unfortunately, it was decided that the baby's health was just too frail for her to be discharged right away. Instead, the tiny royal spent three full days in the hospital, as she fought for her life. Ultimately, Ariane pulled through and returned home to find 30,000 "get well soon" cards from the citizens of her country.

In 2023, at 16 years old, Ariane is infinitely stronger than the newborn who once battled a lung infection. These days, the princess is known as an avid biker, an intellectual thinker, and an internationally-minded young woman.

Princess Ariane is said to be the most thoughtful of her sisters

Any royal family is bound to be defined by the unique personalities of its members. From what experts can tell so far, the future of the Dutch monarchy is in good hands — thanks to the three sisters who are set to become the Netherlands' next generation of senior royals. 

Thus far, Princess Ariane's older sisters have already shown themselves to be fascinating figures. Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, and heir to the throne, is said to be the most focused of the three sisters, taking after her father in her interest in parliamentary affairs. Meanwhile, Princess Alexia, who has invested a great deal of time into learning about her South American roots, is understood to be the most Argentine of the triad. After all, Alexia has demonstrated an interest in traveling to Patagonia for traditional Argentine horsemanship.

Compared to her older siblings, Ariane is known for her ability to think deeply. Speaking to the Argentine paper, La Nación, about the young princess' character, royal expert, Paula Galloni, stated, "Ariane, [Queen Máxima's] youngest daughter, they say, is that she is a super intellectual girl, that she loves reading." Interestingly, though, a key part of Ariane's more thoughtful personality is a sense of introversion. In contrast to Ariane's more public-facing sisters, Galloni says the youngest princess is "more of a solitary person." This has apparently allowed her to bond with her grandmother, Queen Beatrix.

Ariane enjoys traditional princess activities

Perhaps, Princess Ariane of the Netherlands can attribute at least part of her more thoughtful character to her upbringing. Like many young royals before her, Ariane was trained in typical princess activities, such as music and the arts. As a young child, Ariane focused primarily on the piano and ballet. However, as she got older, her interests shifted to include horseback riding and drawing.

Of course, not all aspects of Ariane's education have remained so traditional. As noted in Marie Claire France, the last 100 years have seen European monarchies change their methods for preparing young princes and princesses for the future. In practice, this means that, over time, royal education has begun focusing less on classical activities and more on establishing a sense of normalcy for the children of the upper crust. Although this goal may sound impossible, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima have done their best to allow Ariane to engage in modern extracurricular activities. Thus, the princess has also dabbled in judo and hockey — sports which have allowed her to bond with commoners of the same age.

The princess is getting a world-class education

Princess Ariane's modern royal education will not only include the artistic and athletic learnings of the past. Much like other girls her age, the young royal will be expected to master a series of other subjects, such as mathematics, history, and science. However, unlike the average student, Ariane has been privileged enough to study in some of the best schools out there.

Indeed, during her younger years, Ariane was enrolled in the Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet, a first-rate institution located in The Hague. Founded in 1908, this school is famous in the Netherlands for having educated some of the most influential people in the country's recent history. Over the years, alumni have included former Amsterdam city mayor, Jozias Van Aartsen, the State Secretary for Tax Affairs, Marnix van Rij, and the prominent politician, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst.

Ariane decided to continue her education at the United World College (UWC) Adriatic in northern Italy when she enrolled in August 2023. At this fascinating boarding school, the princess will study alongside bright and talented go-getters from all around the world. She is expected to take classes in a wide range of subjects, which could range from Environmental Systems to World Arts and Cultures to Serbian. Of course, it is expected that Ariane will also try to perfect her Italian while at the UWC. To facilitate this, the school is said to encourage the students to live in a village, where they can mingle with the local community. 

She won't just be studying with the rich and famous

Although Princess Ariane is certainly in for an elite educational experience, her new school is far from being elitist. In stark contrast to other royal alma maters, such as Eton College in Britain or Le Rosey in Switzerland, the UWC is not only available to the children of the rich and famous. On the contrary, the institution tries to open its doors to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to ensure that its classrooms are full of the brightest young minds — not just the wealthiest ones.

As explained on the UWC website, a whopping 80% of its attendees are on financial aid. On top of this, the boarding school has implemented a special program that allows refugee students from around the world to study there for free. Because of this, the princess will come into contact with people from all different walks of life. Writing in The Times, Louise Callaghan — who attended the UWC at its location in Wales — explained, "But the thing about [the school] is that it forces you to get very used to being around, and getting along with, people who are nothing like you." Although we cannot know how the Dutch princess will respond to meeting people of different nationalities, religions, and political perspectives, one thing is clear — she will be exposed to the world outside of palace walls.

Princess Ariane enjoys the same freedom as other kids her age

In many ways, Princess Ariane's choice to study alongside non-royal students makes sense. After all, the adorable young royal has long shown an interest in leading a more normal life. When she was just 12 years old, Ariane decided to forgo any fancy vehicles on her way from the palace to school in the mornings. Instead, she opted to join the majority of her peers — as well as a large percentage of Dutch workers — in the local ritual of using a bicycle as her primary form of transportation.

Of course, longing for normalcy is very different than having it. As a princess, Ariane cannot help but be in the public eye. Although the Dutch royal family is famous for having secured a tight pro-privacy pact with the media, there have been instances when that deal was not respected. As such, on the day that the Dutch Royal House released a picture of Ariane riding her bike to school, the photograph was also accompanied by a serious request. "The period of the princesses' school years is private. At the express request of the parents, the media is called upon to continue to respect the privacy of their daughters," the palace wrote.

She cannot expect to live a normal life

Sadly, a normal life will likely grow more and more out of reach for Princess Ariane as she moves toward adulthood. Even as a teenager, the young princess has struggled with some infringements of her privacy. After all, the royal family's deal with the Dutch press may keep Ariane's face out of the tabloids, but it does not prevent normal citizens from snapping a photo of her while she is out shopping with her friends or sisters. Plus, there have been instances when her family has been followed by the paparazzi while traveling outside of the Netherlands. As King Willem-Alexander shared in light of a court case against the Associated Press, these instances have put "unacceptable pressure" on his daughters (via MLive).

In the end, though, Willem-Alexander will likely not be able to keep Ariane's face out of the papers forever. Since reaching adulthood, Ariane's older sister, Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, has already struggled tremendously with a lack of privacy. Shortly after enrolling in the University of Amsterdam, Catharina-Amalia became the center of a media explosion due to her choice to live in normal student housing with the other girls her age. The decision prompted fears of a kidnapping — just more proof that normalcy and royalty do not always combine. While it's unclear how Ariane's royal status will impact her moving forward, the truth is that it will always be there, putting a target on her back.

The princess has started to frequent more royal events

Princess Ariane of the Netherlands may never get to enjoy a normal life, but that does not mean that being a royal is all that bad. Thanks to her elite position, Ariane has access to exclusive royal functions, meaning that she gets privileged access to some of her country's most interesting events. In 2022, Ariane was photographed attending an exhibition on Queen Juliana's reign at Amsterdam's De Nieuwe Kerk ("The New Church"). Unlike most museum-goers, Ariane was allowed to tour the museum during special hours — giving her a uniquely privileged view of the memorabilia.

As if attending these special events is not exciting enough, Ariane will soon be allowed to attend some of the most exciting parties in the world. So far, this has been true for the princess' older sister, Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, who was spotted at the massive gala held for Prince Christian of Denmark's 18th birthday. At the event, Catharina-Amalia mingled with young royals from all across Europe, as well as athletes and artists from her own generation. While Ariane was not able to join her sister at the party — likely due to the royal protocol surrounding princesses who have not yet reached their 18th birthdays — this will one day change. Like all young princesses, Ariane will be expected to make her tiara debut just as she comes into adulthood. Then, finally, she'll be allowed to dance the night away.

Queen Máxima is proud of her youngest daughter

Although Princess Ariane's future as a débutante princess is still a couple of years away, she is slowly growing into an incredible young woman. As she makes this transformation, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima seem very proud of who their daughter is becoming. Máxima, in particular, has not been afraid to share her praise with the press. 

As reported in the Dutch publication, Vorsten, the queen sat down with local journalist, Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, to talk about her children's progress. During this conversation, Máxima revealed that Ariane is growing up to be extremely kind yet also surprisingly strong. The proud mother explained, "She does very well at school, is incredibly sweet, is ethereal, very feminine and at the same time very powerful." Máxima went on to applaud her daughter's natural gifts, stating, "She has incredible talents."

As for any concerns that Ariane will not get to live a normal life, the queen tried to stay positive. Máxima described freedom as "also something mental," insisting that her daughters would be able to experience freedom so long as they remained optimistic. The royal divulged that one of the biggest lessons she tried to impart to her children was, "Don't think in limitations, think in possibilities." Thanks to family connections, a great deal of money, and of course, her education, Ariane's possibilities seem endless.