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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands Abdicates in Favor of her 45-year old Son

January 29, 2013

All good reigns must come to an end. In the case of Queen Beatrix it has been announced that it will happen on April 30 of this year (

The Queen is following Dutch tradition of Monarchs abdicating rather than dying on the job. At the age of 75 the Dutch Queen is still highly popular and it’s unlikely that she’d have been voted out of obvious should such a thing have been possible.
In a few months the new King will be Prince Willem-Alexander, 45 (above), who is married to Maxima Zorreguieta, a former investment banker with a winning smile (see below) from Argentina. They have three young children, which is good news for the Dutch succession. The King to be is an expert in water management which is highly relevant in a small country where a significant fraction of the land is below sea level or reclaimed from the sea.
The new King will become the Netherlands’ first king since Willem III, who died in 1890, thus breaking a recent run of more than a century of maternal supervision in the Netherlands. By all accounts Queen Beatrix had become a benevolent grandmother in the eyes of the Dutch people.

Queen Juliana resigned the throne in 1980 on her 70th birthday, and Queen Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68 so this is a comparatively late abdication based on recent tradition. Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth II in the UK is 86 and shows no signs of abdicating in favor of her 64 year old son Prince Charles.

Queen Victoria reigned for over 63 years and only her death managed to put her son Edward VII on the throne at the age of 60. Will the abdication of Queen Beatrix product Queen Elizabeth II into doing similar? I doubt it. One gets no sense that the Queen wants to put Charles on the throne and some might thing that she is grimly determined to keep going as long as she can. Which might be quite a few years more given that the Queen Mother (looking a bit like the cat that swallowed the canary in the portrait below) made it to a respectable 102 years of age and that was after bouts of cancer and rumors that she drank prodigious amounts. “Emine Saner of The Guardian suggests that with a gin and Dubonnet at noon, red wine with lunch, a port and martiniat 6 pm and two glasses of champagne at dinner, “a conservative estimate puts the number of alcohol units she drank at 70 a week”. I don’t know how she did it, I’d be incoherent on a diet like that.
The Queen mother was famous for her “dry wit” which I assume might have got even dryer after some liquid refreshment. Here are a couple of examples from her Wikipedia page:

“She was well known for her dry witticisms. On hearing that Edwina Mountbatten was buried at sea, she said: “Dear Edwina, she always liked to make a splash.”

Accompanied by the gay writer Sir Noël Coward at a gala, she mounted a staircase lined with Guards. Noticing Coward’s eyes flicker momentarily across the soldiers, she murmured to him: “I wouldn’t if I were you, Noël; they count them before they put them out.”

Sometimes I wonder why we still have royalty, but I suppose that we do love to gossip about them.
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