Queen Beatrix abdicates

2013-01-28 19:47

Amsterdam - Dutch Queen Beatrix, who turns 75 on Thursday, announced she was abdicating in favour of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, who will become king on April 30.

Willem-Alexander, 45, is married to Princess Maxima Zorrigueta and has three young children. Decades of grooming for the throne involved shaking off his image as a beer-drinking fraternity boy whose blunt comments upset the press and politicians.

Beatrix said in a television broadcast to the nation that she was stepping down because she felt her son was ready to take her place on the throne.

A constitutional monarchy, The Netherlands had reduced the involvement of the Royal House in politics, a role long seen more as a formality than a position of power.

In the past, the queen took part in forming government coalitions by appointing a political mediator, raising questions about behind-the-scenes influence on the democratic process.

That role was scrapped before the last election, which took place in September 2012.

It was widely rumoured that Queen Beatrix was no fan of anti-immigrant, eurosceptic politician Geert Wilders. She alluded in speeches to the need for tolerance and multi-culturalism, comments that were seen as criticisms of Wilders' anti-Islamic views.

Wilders' poor showing at the last election and loss of influence in politics, could well have contributed to her decision to abdicate.

Queen Beatrix, who remains very popular with the Dutch, became the sixth monarch of the House of Orange in 1980 following the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, who reigned for 31 years.

Juliana was 73 years old and in deteriorating mental health when she abdicated but Beatrix has remained active and in good health despite some setbacks.

The queen was emotionally shaken when a man drove his car into a Queen's Day procession in 2009.

Her middle son, Prince Johan Friso, has been in a coma ever since he was buried in an avalanche while skiing last year.

  • Twolips - 2013-01-28 21:11

    Her abdication was expected. She has been a good queen throughout her 33 years on the throne. Lang leve de koningin.

  • raschid.appoles - 2013-01-28 21:12

    Lank zal zij lewen in de Gloria!

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2013-01-28 21:40

    Longtime member and insider in the Bilderberg group, helped set up the failing EU, and elitist as all royal family members are. I don't anticipate any less meddling from her son. At least she was good at protecting her public image. Most female royals are.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-28 23:17

      Cyanide, 'The Bilderberg meetings'======The most silly conspiracy story ever !!! The list of participants is widely available, and consists of politicians, royalty, CEO's of large corporations, MEDIA, etc,etc. These meetings are held behind close doors, but so are many meetings at the UN. Hardly secret with editors of major news publications being present !! And to put the blame of Europe's economic problems on the queen, is not only absurd, but plain childish !!! But, it was a nice try !!!!

  • ivan.schoultz - 2013-01-29 09:07

    All monarchies AND TRIBAL LEADERS are a tax on the citizens and serve NO purpose. Nobody has the right to sit on a big chair and declare him/herself better than the rest of us simply because their mommy had sex with their daddy. News-shock: my mommy and daddy had sex too, all of our parents had sex - that means we are all equal, no one person is better than another ... all blood-line leadership should be dismantled and replaced with meritocracy. mer·i·toc·ra·cy /?meri'täkr?se/ Noun • Government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability. • A society governed by such people.

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