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Dutch king reveals side gig as airline pilot

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In what sounds like a storyline from a rom-com, The New York Times reports that King Willem-Alexander, sovereign leader of the Netherlands, has been moonlighting as a commercial airline pilot for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The 50-year-old monarch‘s love of flying is well known among his subjects, apparently, but it turns out he’s been jumping puddles as a commercial airline co-pilot for KLM subsidiary Cityhopper, a regional carrier that flies to European cities, for the last 21 years or so. The Times’ piece notes that Willem-Alexander was never found out on any of those trips, in part because safety regulations keep most people out of the cockpit these days. He did occasionally greet passengers over the intercom, though he refrained from formally introducing himself.

Willem-Alexander became king in 2013 after his mother, the now-sovereign Princess Beatrix, abdicated the throne following the longest reign in Netherlands history. He’s also the first king to rule the country in over a 100 years, because even good things come to an end (we kid). The Netherlands hasn’t been running on autopilot during this time, though. The king’s really only been flying twice a month, so he hasn’t entirely been shirking his royal duties—at least, we hope not. It’s not like he regularly takes weekends off to go golfing. That’s for presidents.