FILE – In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, Dutch Queen Beatrix, center, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, left and Princess Maxima, second left, arrive at the “Hall of Knights” to formally open the new parliamentary year in The Hague, Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced she is to abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Willem Alexander during a nationally televised speech Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Beatrix, who turns 75 on Thursday, has ruled the nation of 16 million for more than 32 years and would be succeeded by her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski, File)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix announced Monday that she is ending her reign after 33 years and passing the crown to her eldest son, who has long been groomed to be king but who will have to work hard to match his mother’s popularity.
The widely expected abdication comes at a time of debate over the future of the largely ceremonial Dutch monarchy, but also as calm has descended upon the Netherlands after a decade of turmoil that saw Beatrix act as the glue that held together an increasingly divided society.
“Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation,” Beatrix, one of Europe’s longest-serving monarchs, said in the simple, televised speech announcing her abdication.
The queen, who turns 75 in just a few days, said she will step down from the throne on April 30. That same day, her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, will be appointed king at an inauguration in Amsterdam. He will be the Netherlands’ first king since Willem III died in 1890.
Willem-Alexander is a 45-year-old father of three young daughters, an International Olympic Committee member, a pilot and a water management expert.
Over the years, he has struggled to win the Login to read more