Queen passes 'beautiful task' to Prince Willem-Alexander
In a televised speech Queen Beatrix announced she abdicating the Dutch throne in favour of her son Prince Willem-Alexander.
In her speech she paid tribute to her son and his wife, Princess Maxima:
As you all know I hope to celebrate my 75th birthday in a few days. I am grateful that I have been allowed to approach that day in good health. At the end of this year we will commemorate the 200th anniversary of our kingdom, a day which opens a new chapter in our history.
The coinciding of these two special events has been the reason for me to decide this year to resign from my office.
Until today, this beautiful task has given me a lot of satisfaction. It is inspiring to feel close to people, to sympathise in grievances and share times of joy and national pride.
It is with great confidence, that on April 30 this year I will pass my kingship to the Prince of Orange. He and Princess Maxima are fully prepared for their future task.
They will serve our country with devotion, faithfully serve the constitution, and with all their talents give substance to their kingship.
I hope I will be able to continue to meet many of you frequently. I am deeply grateful for the trust you gave me during the many beautiful years I was allowed to be your queen.
Dutch Queen hands 'responsibility of our country to next generation'
"Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation," Queen Beatrix said in the speech delivered from her Huis ten Bosch palace, she will celebrate her 75th birthday on Wednesday.
"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.
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."
The future King of the Netherlands: Prince Willem-Alexander
• Born on 27th April 1967 as the first child of Princess Beatrix and the late Prince Claus.
• As heir to the throne, his official title is His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange.
• In 2002, the Prince married Argentinean born Máxima Zorreguieta.
• They have three daughters Princess Catharina-Amali (10), Princess Alexia (7) and Princess Ariane (5).
• The Prince and Princess Máxima are patrons of the Orange Fund, which was set up to promote social welfare and social cohesion in the Netherlands.
• The Prince holds both a private pilot licence and a commercial pilot licence.
• The Prince has a prominent role in the Dutch armed forces. He holds the rank of Commodore in the Royal Netherlands Navy Reserve, Brigadier General in the Royal Netherlands Army Reserve and Air Commodore in the Royal Netherlands Air Force Reserve.
• The Prince has a well-known passion for sport. In 1998 he became a member of the International Olympic Committee.
• Prince Willem-Alexander travelled to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup where he was pictured wearing orange during the Dutch national team’s journey to the final.
• During the war the Queen fled to Ottawa in Canada with her mother and two sisters.
• The Queen has weekly meetings with the Prime Minister and speaks regularly with ministers and state secretaries.
• Similar to the British Monarch, the Queen signs all new Acts of Parliament and Royal Decrees and plays a role in the formation of new governments, she also officially opens the parliamentary year with a speech.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands 'to abdicate in favour of her son'
Dutch Queen Beatrix will address the nation on television and radio on Monday evening, the Royal Household has confirmed in a statement, prompting the Dutch media to report that she will abdicate in favour of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.
Queen Beatrix will be 75 years old on 31st January. In 1980, she became the sixth monarch of the House of Orange on the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, who had reigned for 31 years.