Netherlands' Queen Beatrix to Abdicate

Son Willem-Alexander to become country's 1st king in century

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 28, 2013 12:38 PM CST

(Newser) – Dutch Queen Beatrix announced today that she will abdicate on April 30 after 33 years as head of state, clearing the way for her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, to become the nation's first king in more than a century. The announcement, in a nationally televised speech, signaled an end to the reign of one of Europe's longest-serving monarchs, whose time on the throne was marked by tumultuous shifts in Dutch society and, more recently, by personal tragedy.

The queen's abdication from the largely ceremonial role had been widely expected, but it is sure to bring an outpouring of sentimental and patriotic feelings among the Dutch, most of whom adore Beatrix. In everyday conversation, many of her subjects refer to her simply by the nickname "Bea."

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands inspects honor guards with Singapore's President Tony Tan, behind her, during a welcome ceremony on Thursday Jan. 24, 2013.   (Wong Maye-E)
In this April 30, 1980 file photo, Princess Juliana, just after her abdication, kisses her eldest daughter Queen Beatrix, left, on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, Netherlands.   (AP Photo/ Ferry van Groen, File)
In this April 30, 1980 file photo, Queen Beatrix is shown during her crowning ceremony at Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church in Amsterdam, Netherlands.   (AP Photo, File)
In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, Dutch Queen Beatrix, left, Crown Prince Willem Alexander, right, and his wife Princess Maxima, center, wave to wellwishers from the balcony of Royal Palace Noordeinde.   (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski, File)
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