Today is a historic day for the monarchy in the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced that she would abdicate in favor of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, on April 30th, a day which is known as Koninginnedag or 'Queen's Day'. The date is significant as the same date Beatrix's own mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated in Beatrix's favor in 1980. Upon her abdication Beatrix's title will revert to Princess Beatrix.
Beatrix's abdication is no surprise. In fact some would say that it was inevitable given the history of abdications in the Dutch monarchy. Beatrix's grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina and mother, Queen Juliana, both abdicated and now Beatrix has followed suit.
The Netherlands have been ruled by women since 1890. When Willem-Alexander becomes king, he will be the first male monarch in 123 years. The previous king, William III, was also named Willem-Alexander. By the new King's side will be his wife, Argentinian born Maxima.
Upon acceding to the throne, his oldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia becomes next in line. This is notable for a few reasons. In doing so she will likely become Princess of Orange in her own right, a title normally reserved for the eldest son of the sovereign. Amalia also becomes the second female heir apparent in the world after her godmother, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Born in December 2003 she will be the second youngest heir apparent in the world after Prince Lerotholi Seeiso, born in 2007. She also becomes the youngest heir apparent to a reigning European royal house.
© Marilyn Braun 2013
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