In the past, a painting was often the nearest most people would get to seeing the monarch. Since the late Middle Ages monarchs have traditionally been depicted in ceremonial attire.
Members of the House of Oranje-Nassau have sat for portraits since the house was founded. In 1816 the first official portrait of King Willem I was painted by C.H. Hodges, and his successors followed suit.
Since Queen Beatrix came to the throne, portraits have only been considered official if they have been commissioned by the Government Information Service.