Willem-Alexander becomes first Dutch king since 19th century

Festivities have begun to inaugurate the first Dutch king since 1890. Queen Beatrix expressed her thanks to the people of the Netherlands in her farewell speech Monday, Deutsche Welle reports.

With his 75-year-old mother signing an act of abdication at Amsterdam’s Royal Palace at about 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Tuesday morning, Willem-Alexander has become the king of the Netherlands. His Argentina-born wife, Maxima, is now queen, and their eldest daughter, 9-year-old Catharina-Amalia, has become Princess of Orange and heir to the throne.

“It is my deep wish that the new royal couple will feel themselves supported by your loving trust,” Queen Beatrix said on Monday. “I am convinced that Willem-Alexander will apply himself with true devotion to everything a good king is obliged to do,” she added.

Royalty from 18 countries were expected to make the trip, including Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and the Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. Charles also attended Beatrix’s coronation in 1980.

Beatrix announced her intention to step aside in January after 33 years on the throne. She succeeded her mother, Juliana, who abdicated in 1980.

In her abdication speech Monday, Beatrix said she had “shared both joy and national pride” with her people as well as their “sorrow and anxiety.”


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