By Patricia Treble - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
There hasn’t been a Dutch king since 1890, when William III died, leaving his 10-year-old daughter Wilhelmina as monarch. Since then there have been two traditions for Dutch monarchs: they’ve all been woman and they’ve all abdicated. But that tradition ended today when Queen Beatrix announced she is abdicating in favour of her heir and oldest son, Willem-Alexander, age 45. In a televised address, she told her country, “Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation.” His coronation will be on April 30, the nation’s holiday.
While this transition would spark a national crisis in most other monarchies—”abdication” is a verbotem term in Britain because of the crisis caused when Edward VIII gave up the throne—it has become standard operating procedure in the Netherlands, where the throne is a largely ceremonial post. Beatrix, who will turn 75 on Thursday, has been monarch since 1980, when her mother Juliana abdicated at age 70 after 31 years on the throne. Before that, Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68.