Queen Of Netherlands To Abdicate Throne To Her Son

Following tradition, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is stepping aside to give the throne to her son, Prince Willem-Alexander. Her mother did the same for her.

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It's not every day we report that a queen is abdicating her throne, but we get to do that today. The royal transition is happening in the House of Orange in the Netherlands. After 33 years, Queen Beatrix is ready to hand things over to her son.

The announcement does not come as a surprise to the Dutch. But as Teri Schultz reports, there is nonetheless some sadness at the departure of the much-loved monarch.

TERI SCHULTZ, BYLINE: Queen Beatrix, often affectionately just referred to as Bea by the Dutch, is following family tradition in handing over the throne to her oldest child.

Here's the BBC from 1980 when Beatrix's mother handed her the crown.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands is to abdicate on April 30th, her 71st birthday. The queen who...

SCHULTZ: Now Queen Beatrix is making way for her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, on the national holiday commemorating her mother's birthday, April 30th. Beatrix made the announcement on national television, noting this year marks 200 years of the Dutch monarchy and her own 75th birthday.

QUEEN BEATRIX: (Foreign language spoken)

SCHULTZ: It's provided me the occasion, she said, to step down from my office. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid respects on behalf of the nation.

PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE: (Foreign language spoken)

SCHULTZ: Since taking the throne, Rutte said, she has been dedicated heart and soul to Dutch society. Beatrix says the job didn't get too heavy for her, she just believes it's time to let the younger generation take over. That generation exploded in discussion about the events on Twitter. The news quickly got its own hashtag. Like the shorthand term Greece's possible departure from the Eurozone, a Grexit, or the planned British referendum on quitting the European Union, a Brixit, Beatrix's abdication has been crowned by Twitterers, the Trixit.

For NPR News, I'm Teri Shultz.

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