17:43 GMT +324 April 2018
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    Dutch King Willem-Alexander gestures as he celebrates his 50th anniversary on Kingsday during a tour of Tilburg, south central Netherlands, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

    It's 'Royal Dutch Airlines' for a Reason: King Reveals Secret Life as Pilot

    © REUTERS / Peter Dejong
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    We all have our little secrets, but the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, has a rather large one that's about 76 meters long, and flies at an altitude of approximately 35-39,000 feet.

    The king revealed that for the past 21 years he has been surreptitiously working as a pilot for the Dutch National carrier, KLM.

    King Alexander said in an interview with the Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf, that twice a month he had been ditching his royal quarters for the cockpit on short haul services. 

    The monarch revealed how he has managed to, quite paradoxically, keep his high-flying side-career as a pilot on the down-low, even when addressing passengers over the plane's intercom:

    "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. But then, most people don't listen anyway."

    The king has called the part-time job a "hobby" and spoke the recent interview of how, prior to KLM, he had piloted planes for Dutch carrier Martinair. Before becoming king in 2013, it was quite well known that he had flown as a guest pilot, but his rather unorthodox monarchical pastime with KLM has been kept secret, up until now. 

    King Wilhelm also spoke of the therapeutic value he finds in flying, explaining that:

    "You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibility for them. You can't take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying."

    However, the Dutch king isn't the only royal who finds his throne in the cockpit. The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, is a qualified pilot, and his two sons, William and Harry, both flew helicopters as part of their military careers. 


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