Queen Beatrix announces her abdication

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands today announced her abdication. In a broadcast that was recorded earlier today, she stated that she will step down as Queen on April 30th this year and her son Willem-Alexander will become King of the Netherlands.

In her short but powerful speech the monarch referred to the fact that she will be 75 soon and that this year the Netherlands will be a monarchy for 200 years. She said: "I am not resigning because my duties are becoming too burdensome but I believe that the responsibility for our country should now be in the hands of a new generation."

The Queen made a specific mention of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and said that "she has always felt warmly welcome there".

I am not resigning because my duties are becoming too burdensome but I believe that the responsibility for our country should now be in the hands of a new generation. It is with the greatest confidence that on April 30 I will transfer my powers to my son, the Prince of Orange.

The Queen concluded her speech:

"I feel strengthened by the thought that making place for my successor won't be mean I have to say goodbye to you. I look forward to often still meeting many of you. I am deeply grateful for the trust you have placed in me over the many beautiful years where I've been allowed to be your queen."

King's Day on April 27

The annual celebration that until now was known as Queen's Day will be renamed to King's Day (Koningsdag) and it will be celebrated on April 27th, the birthday of Prince Willem-Alexander.

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