Not only a reign, but a unique historical epoch of three successive female reigns came to an end at 10.07 a.m. today, when Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signed her instrument of abdication in the Moses Room at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. As she signed the final letter of her name, her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, ascended to the Dutch throne, becoming the first King of the Netherlands in 123 years.
The ceremony in the Moses Room was brief, as Queen Beatrix, unlike her mother upon her abdication in 1980, did not make any speech. In the presence of several witnesses the Director of the Queen’s Office read the instrument of abdication aloud before it was signed by the Queen and the witnesses.
Princess Beatrix, as she had now again become, thereafter led her son and daughter-in-law onto the palace balcony. Looking both moved and relieved, the former Queen presented the new monarch to the people and King Willem-Alexander expressed his gratitude in a short speech. After Princess Beatrix retreated inside, the King and Queen Máxima were joined on the balcony by their three daughters, Princesses Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.
The Dutch Constitution requires that the new monarch, as soon as possible after his accession, should swear to uphold the Constitution at a joint session of the States General. This rather magnificent ceremony was held in the New Church, adjacent to the Royal Palace, at 2 p.m. Having delievered his inaugural speech, the King swore the oath before the MPs swore loyalty.
Among the guests at the investiture in the New Church were members of the royal families of the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, Japan, Thailand, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
The colour of the day was blue, this being the colour of the dresses worn for the investiture by Queen Máxima, her three daughters and Princess Beatrix as well as of the carpet and the canopy linking the Palace and the church. The new Queen matched this with a magnificent tiara of diamonds and 33 sapphires, apparently created by the French jeweller Mellerio for Queen Emma.
Following the investiture the guests proceeded to the Royal Palace for a reception and the celebrations continue tonight.