Tonight at 7 PM CET Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands addressed her people via all national television and radio stations, letting them know that she has decided to abdicate this spring on 30 April. The address was pre-recorded at her home Huis ten Bosch in The Hague and lasted just under three minutes.
The monarch, who will celebrate her 75th birthday on 31 January, said in her address that facing this age at a good health and also the upcoming celebrations of the kingdom’s bicentennial anniversary provided her with inspiration to take this step now. Her Majesty also said that it was time to hand over to a new generation after having had the privilege to serve The Netherlands for soon 33 years. The Queen ended the address by reassuring her people that she will not disappear from the stage completely but hope to meet many of her citizens also in the future and thanked for the trust during the years she has been allowed to rule.
The abdication of Queen Beatrix will fall on the same date as that of her mother, Queen Juliana. The Netherlands has been ruled by female monarchs since the death of King Willem III (who had three sons that predeceased him) in 1890 and Beatrix is the third reigning queen in a row after Queen Wilhelmina (1890-1948) and Queen Juliana (1948-1980) who all abdicated in favour of their heir.
Queen Beatrix will be succeeded by her oldest child and son who will become King Willem-Alexander upon the abdication, the country’s first king in 123 years. He is currently titled Prince of Orange, a title that his oldest child and daughter Princess Catharina-Amalia, soon Europe’s second female heir apparent to the throne together with her godmother Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, will shoulder from then on. At his side the new king will have his Argentinian-born wife Máxima who will be titled queen. Queen Beatrix will revert to being titled as princess upon her abdication, as regulated in Dutch law.
The future King Willem-Alexander will be 46 years old when he accedes to the throne, he was almost 13 when his mother became queen and he the heir apparent as Prince of Orange in 1980. Princess Catharina-Amalia will become the world’s second youngest heir apparent on 30 April, she is only 9 years old.
Queen Beatrix’s abdication will take place at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and the following formal ceremony marking King Willem-Alexander’s accession to the throne in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) just next door at Dam Square.