Queen Beatrix is to stand down on April 30, 33 years to the day after her coronation. The queen is abdicating in favour of her son Willem-Alexander, who will be 46 on April 27.
In a short address, broadcast on radio and television, the queen said this year – which includes her 75th birthday and celebrations to mark 200 years of the monarchy – is a good time to step down.
‘I have been thinking about it for some time,’ the queen said. ‘I am not standing down because the role is too heavy for me, but in the conviction that responsibility for our country should now lie with a new generation.’
King and queen
Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima are ‘fully prepared for their future role’ and will use all their talents to serve the country and keep faith with the constitution, she said.
Despite suggestions the new king will be known as Willem IV, this is not the case and the crown prince will continue to be known by his full name. His wife, Máxima, will be known as queen Máxima.
Willem-Alexander will be the first king of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great-grandfather William III 1890.
Máxima, the daughter of a former member of the Argentine junta, has also let it be known her parents will not be at the coronation in Amsterdam. They were not at Máxima’s wedding to Willem-Alexander either but did attend the christening of their children.
Dutch monarchs are technically not crowned but sworn in or inaugurated.
In a reaction to the news, prime minister Mark Rutte said the queen had put her heart and soul into the job. She is an icon, the prime minister said.