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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:
"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."
Addressing the Netherlands on television and radio Queen Beatrix has said she will abdicate the throne in favour of her eldest son Prince Willem-Alexander.
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will become the King of the Netherlands on 30th April she said, adding that she considered he was ready for the role.
Dutch Queen Beatrix says she will abdicate the throne on 30th April this year according to Associated Press.
• 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.
• Princess Beatrix married German diplomat Claus Von Amsberg in 1966. He died in October 2002.
• Princess Beatrix became the Queen of the Netherlands in 1980 after her mother abdicated the throne.
• Queen Beatrix has three sons, with the eldest Prince Willem-Alexander set to succeed her.
• Queen Beatrix has eight grandchildren.
• 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.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will address the nation after Queen Beatrix's speech this evening, the prime minister's office said in a statement.
Only Queens have sat on the throne of the Netherlands since the 1800s.
The last two Queens of the Netherlands have both abdicated in favour of their daughters:
- In 1948 Queen Wilhelmina abdicated after 50 years on the throne which spanned two World Wars.
- Her daughter Queen Juliana abdicated in 1980.
Prince Willem-Alexander would become the first king since King Willem III died in 1890, if his mother Queen Beatrix does abdicate tonight.
- Source: www.koninklijkhuis.nl
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.
Dutch Queen Beatrix is expected to announce her abdication in favour of Prince Willem-Alexander according to Dutch media reports.
The Dutch Royal household has confirmed Queen Beatrix is to address the nation this evening.