Dutch queen Beatrix celebrates her 74th birthday on Tuesday, making her the oldest reigning monarch in Dutch history.
The previous record holder was King Willem III who died on the throne at the age of 73 years, 277 days.
There has been increasing speculation in recent weeks that Beatrix may be about to step down in favour of her son Willem-Alexander. Beatrix will have been queen for 32 years on April 30 and her mother Juliana abdicated after 32 years on the throne.
Some point to the fact Juliana stood down on April 30, 1980 when Beatrix was 42. Willem-Alexander will turn 45 on April 27.
Gossip magazine Privé said last year Beatrix will step down on April 30, citing her large new limousine (too big for her alone) and the prominence of Willem-Alexander and his family in holiday photographs as evidence.
The NRC suggests the appointment of a close confident of Willem-Alexander as director of the queen’s private cabinet is another indication change is on the way. In addition, Beatrix’s close advisor Herman Tjeenk Willink has left the Council of State.
Furthermore, the Dam palace in central Amsterdam has finally been renovated and the prince’s controversial holiday home in Mozambique has been sold, removing one stain from his reputation, the paper points out.
However, the paper says the possible prosecution of princess Máxima’s father in connection with his role in the Argentinian junta, and the young age of the prince’s three daughters, are also indications a speedy abdication is not on the cards.