Not only confidence in Willem-Alexander has fallen, also in Máxima
‘There are only two previous interviews with Máxima alone: by Jeroen Pauw in 2005 and by Dominique van der Heyde in 2011. Both interviews were part of a kind of documentary. She was also followed during working visits, for example. I understand that this interview is self-contained. Then Van Nieuwkerk is a good interviewer, who knows how to create atmosphere. ‘
‘And of course a few things have happened in the past year. I assume he will ask for the photo in Greece where Willem-Alexander and Máxima were too close to a restaurant owner. That he will ask about the purchase of the speedboat, which may have taken place earlier, but was made public last year. And that he will ask about the planned autumn holiday in Greece, when the second corona wave took place in the Netherlands. ‘
In the excuse video after that holiday, only Willem-Alexander spoke, Máxima not.
‘Máxima was sitting next to him and it was really the king who was accountable and made excuses. That is also correct. But in the past year, according to the polls, not only has confidence in Willem-Alexander declined, but also in Máxima. It became clear that the king and queen lost a lot of goodwill in that incident. And so far we have not heard anyone from the Royal Family about that in an interview. ‘
How critical can we expect Matthijs van Nieuwkerk?
Little information about the interview has been circulated so far, except that it was recorded in her office in Huis ten Bosch on May 7. Videos, so-called instarts, will be shown. Van Nieuwkerk is known for his empathetic approach, but that does not mean that he cannot ask critical questions. I think he’ll blame himself if he didn’t ask them. ”
Does the Government Information Service not make a critical interview impossible?
Normally not. You can ask anything, but ministerial responsibility does apply. Unfortunate answers can be lost in the editing. In his interview Jeroen Pauw had brought dulce de leche, a South American caramel paste. When he gave that sweet treat to Máxima, she exclaimed: “I love you, so much!” That did not make it into the broadcast. Maybe that came out a little too informal. ‘
Its popularity has declined in the last year. Is that only due to that autumn holiday?
‘That error plays a role, but the reduced visibility in general does not help either. Most working visits were made digitally in the past year. Then it is very difficult for the king and queen to be in the picture. While that is core business for the Royal Family. Visibility is essential to play a connecting role. ‘
She is still the most popular member of the Royal Family. What explains that popularity?
‘Actually she has been since her entrance. She always makes a cordial, spontaneous impression and usually comes across well on television.
For example, she spoke very openly about the death of her youngest sister, who committed suicide in 2018. That affects a lot of people, I think, and also helps if you find yourself in such a situation. I also expect the deaths of her father in 2017 and her sister to be reflected in the interview. The announcement says it will be about ‘life, love and work’. This is certainly part of that. ‘
In addition to this interview, the Avrotros is making a documentary series about her and Marcia Luyten and Rick Evers wrote biographies about Máxima. What explains the great journalistic interest in her at the moment?
‘She is turning fifty, that is a crown year. In journalism we like to focus on these kinds of figures. When someone like Máxima turns fifty, that’s a hook to publish about her. ‘
What has that digging yielded so far?
‘We paid attention to Marcia Luyten’s book in the newspaper. That is the first part of a two-part biographical portrait. This section is about her life up to the meeting with Willem-Alexander. Only in the second part does Marcia end up in the now. ‘
Rick Evers’ book is about how she works and who she works with. There are plenty of quotes from people who see her approach up close. It is also about the trade-offs that she has to make between all those different invitations: what should you do and what should you not do? That is interesting to read. I hope that Van Nieuwkerk will derive substance from it. ‘