© Wikimedia CommonsQueen Beatrix
In line with tradition began by her grandmother Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced that she would abdicate the throne on April 30. She will be succeeded by her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, who will be the first Dutch king in 122 years, the last being his great-great grandfather, King Willem III, who ruled from 1849 until 1890.
In a prerecorded address, delivered in Huis ten Bosch Palace, the Queen said that it took her a hard time to make up her mind and decide for “the moment to lay down my crown.”
“I am not abdicating because this office is too much of a burden, but out of conviction that the responsibility for our nation should now rest in the hands of a new generation.
“I am deeply grateful for the great faith you have shown in me in the many years that I could be your Queen,” she added.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has nothing but praises to her sovereign, saying that right from the start of becoming queen, Her Majesty “has applied herself heart and soul for Dutch society.”
BBC Correspondent in the Netherlands Anna Holligan wrote that Queen Beatrix was ever a grandmother to her people, writing that reverence to Her Majesty is felt as “office buildings and universities proudly display her glamorous portrait, decorated in a range of suitably colourful costumes.”
It has been a tradition among Dutch monarchs to abdicate. In 1948, Queen Wilhelma abdicated when she was 68. Her daughter, Queen Juliana resigned on her 71st birthday. Tomorrow, Queen Beatrix will turn 75.
The Queen’s heir-apparent, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander was born on April 27, 1967. He served at the Dutch Royal Navy, attended Leiden University where he studied history and showed an active interest in the promotion of water management. The Crown Prince’s wife, the Argentine-born Princess Maxima (nee Zorreguita Ceruti), whom he married in 2002, is very popular in the country.