Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has just concluded a speech to the nation in which she announced that she will abdicate the throne in favour of Prince Willem-Alexander on 30 April.
Given that there is a Dutch tradition for abdicating, there has been much speculation in recent years about her doing so. Queen Beatrix, who will celebrate her 75th birthday on Thursday, is, if I am not wrong, already the oldest monarch in Dutch history.
Queen Beatrix came to the throne upon the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, on 30 April 1980. Queen Juliana turned 71 on that very day, and lived to be almost 95, dying in March 2004.
Queen Beatrix’s speech was followed by an address by Prime Minister Mark Rutte; both of them expressing their full confidence in Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima. Prince Willem-Alexander will be the first male Dutch monarch in 123 years. Since the death of King Willem III in 1890, there have been three queens regnant in a row: Queen Wilhelmina from 1890 to 1948 (under the regency of her mother, Queen Emma, until 1898), Queen Juliana from 1948 to 1980, and then Queen Beatrix from 1980 to 2013.