Prince Willem-Alexander was educated at a Protestant grammar school in The Hague, where he mixed with children from all social backgrounds. He has been groomed in state affairs to assume the Dutch throne one day. He earned a degree in history from Leiden University and is an expert in international water management issues. Prince Willem-Alexander is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN, and the Swedish Ministry of Development.
The prince is a member of the Raad van State, the highest council to the Dutch government that is chaired by his mother, Queen Beatrix. As part of his Royal duties, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army, Navy and Air Force and was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). On behalf of the Crown, the Prince carries out various representative duties.
He is an avid pilot and sportsman. In 1989, the Prince flew as a volunteer for the "African Medical Research and Education Foundation" (AMREF) in Kenya and in 1991 he spent a month flying for the Kenya Wildlife Service. Using the name "Van Buren," one of the other, lesser-known surnames of the House of Orange-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City marathon where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several of the Royal family cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities skating marathon.
On February 2, 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta (born 1971), an Argentine woman of Basque, Spanish, and Italian ancestry who prior their marriage worked as an investment banker in New York City. In choosing her, the prince upheld the Dutch monarchy's tradition choosing a controversial partner. Like all Dutch monarchs, Prince Willem-Alexander is a member of the Protestant Dutch Reformed church but, unlike the highly controversial 1964 marriage to a Roman Catholic by his aunt, Princess Irene, religion was not an issue in the Prince's marriage. Rather, it was the issue of Maxima's father, Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini, who was a civilian member of the Videla regime, a brutal military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1982. As a result of the controversy, Zorreguieta senior was not allowed to attend the royal wedding.
Willem-Alexander has one child, Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria, Amalia for short (born 7 December 2003, 17:01 at The Hague). She is second in line to the Dutch throne and named after Amalia von Solms.
The family lives at the estate De Horsten in Wassenaar.