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An Argentine queen for the House of Orange; Beatrix steps down April 30

Monday, January 28th 2013 - 20:13 UTC
Full article 108 comments
Queen Beatrix with Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima Queen Beatrix with Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima
The Dutch royal family enjoying a sunny day The Dutch royal family enjoying a sunny day

Dutch Queen Beatrix, who turns 75, 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 Argentine born Princess Maxima Zorreguieta 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, Euro-sceptic 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.

Princess Maxima Zorreguieta is the daughter of a former Argentine Agriculture minister under the military dictatorship and his name has been occasionally named in the many human rights cases before Argentine courts, but no charges were ever brought against him.

Top Comments

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  • screenname

    Can we expect the forced handover of Aruba to Venezuela?

    Jan 28th, 2013 - 08:35 pm 0
  • Think

    Her Royal Highness, Queen Beatrix has true class……
    Other old Queens in Europe should follow her example and abdicate in favour of their mature sons….,................

    Jan 28th, 2013 - 08:39 pm 0
  • briton

    Argentine born Princess

    My my
    CFK will be muffed.

    Jan 28th, 2013 - 08:40 pm 0
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