Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands Abdicates

Abdication in the Dutch monarchy is eminent. It has been the tradition of the last Dutch monarchs for the past decades so the announcement of the current Dutch Queen, Beatrix, last January 28 that she would abdicate this coming April 30, 2013 in favor of her eldest son, Prince Wilhelm-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, is no longer a surprise.

Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, will be Dutch monarch until April 30, 2013
afterwhich she will be known as Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau
Photo © RVD
Photo source: Het Koninklijk Huis

The Dutch queen turned 75 this year. She ascended the Dutch throne in 1980 following the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana whose mother, Queen Whilmina, had also abdicated in 1948. 

Queen Beatrix, considered as the wealthiest female monarch in the world today, has lead a relatively low profile status, acquiring a reputation of being a homely queen with a simple lifestyle and quiet family life. Her husband, Prince Claus, a German aristocrat, died in 2004 due to health complications triggered from multiple illnesses.

Despite her strong character and intensely calm demeanor, the Queen however showed some traces of grief and sadness for a family tragedy over a year ago when her second son, Prince Friso, was severely injured in a skiing incident in Austria. The Prince is still in a coma until now and might not see his brother crowned as King of the Netherlands.

Princess Maxima and Prince Wilhelm-Alexander
Photo from the Telegraph UK

The Queen announced his abdication message to a television broadcast on January 28, 2013 telling the whole nation she is privileged to be their Queen and she is very grateful to the support and faith the subjects had given to her for the past years in her reign. She felt it's time to pass the monarchy to a new generation and that her son will serve the country devotedly as what she did for the last 33 years.

Wilhelm-Alexander will take his turn on the throne starting April 30, 2013 at the age of 45, probably younger than any other Kings-in-waiting in the present-day European monarchy. His reign will be very historic to the Dutch people because he will be the first King the country will ever have since King William III in the 19th century. William's successor was Queen Whilmina, the grandmother of Queen Beatrix.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Catharina Amalia, eldest daughter of Prince Whilhelm Alexander. Following her father's ascension to the Dutch throne on April 30, 2013, she will be known as The Hereditary Princess of Orange. At 9 years old, Catharina-Amalia will be the youngest Queen-in-waiting in European monarchy. 

The Prince of Orange has three daughters, Princesses Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane and because the country had already abolished the male-preference primogeniture succession, Catharina-Amalia, as a first born child, will be her father's heir apparent and will bear the title The Hereditary Princess of Orange the moment her father ascends the throne.

She will be the first Princess of Orange in the Netherlands. Her grandmother, mother and great grandmother were never titled Princess of Orange because they were only heir presumptive. During that time the country followed a male-preference primogeniture succession which means that only first born male can be called the heir-apparent. The Prince of Orange title is only given to the heir-apparent.

Following the changes of its law on succession, the first born child irrespective of gender will be the unconditional heir, if the first born of the reigning sovereign is a daughter, she will be called The Hereditary Princess of Orange.

The title Princess of Orange is only given to a future Dutch female monarch, thus, Amalia's mother, Maxima, despite being married to the Prince of Orange and would become Queen Consort when her husband ascends the throne, is not called Princess of Orange but only Princess of the Netherlands.

After the formal day of abdication on April 30, 2013, Queen Beatrix will be known by her old style, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau.

There would be no difference in the line of succession but the members of the Dutch royal family will be redrawn, the children of the Queen's younger sister, Princess Margriet, will no longer part of the royal family and no longer eligible to succeed the throne.

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