Dutch queen to continue tradition, abdicate
THE HAGUE — The Netherlands' Queen Beatrix announced on Monday that she is ending her reign after 33 years and passing the crown to her eldest son, who has long been groomed to be king but who will have to work hard to match his mother's popularity.
“Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation,” Beatrix, one of Europe's longest-serving monarchs, said in a televised speech.
Under Dutch law, the monarch has few powers, and the role is considered ceremonial, but Beatrix acted as glue that held together an increasingly divided society, observers say.
Dutch queens have made a tradition of stepping aside for the next generation during the past century. Sources close to the royal family said Beatrix did not want to go until she felt her son was ready and his children were old enough. She wanted to ensure that anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, of whom she disapproved, was in no danger of assuming real political influence.
She alluded in speeches to the need for tolerance and multiculturalism, comments that were seen as criticisms of Wilders' anti-Islamic views.
Wilders' poor showing in the last election and loss of influence in politics could well have contributed to her decision to abdicate.
The queen, who turns 75 in a few days, said she will step down from the throne on April 30. That same day, her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, will be appointed king, the country's first since Willem III died in 1890.
Willem-Alexander is a 45-year-old father of three young daughters, an International Olympic Committee member, a pilot and a water management expert who has had trouble shaking off his image as a beer-drinking fraternity boy whose blunt comments upset the press and politicians and did not fit the image of the Netherlands' low-key “bicycling monarchy.”
With Willem-Alexander on the throne, the Netherlands is likely to revive the debate about the role of the monarchy and the high cost of maintaining the royal household, particularly when ordinary Dutch people are having to deal with austerity measures.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Slain editor’s book condemns ‘Islamophobia’
- Pakistan could put nukes on new submarines sold by China
- Al-Qaida exploits chaos in Yemen, seizing weapons depot
- Report: Iraqi security forces kill Saddam aide al Douri, but DNA will confirm
- European nations promote need for more babies
- Being fat cuts risk of dementia, study suggests
- Pakistani court frees man suspected behind 2008 Mumbai attacks
- Obama, Congress strike deal on emerging nuclear pact with Iran
- Unilateral Obama sanction relief for Iranians possible
- Suicide bomber targets American military convoy in Afghanistan
- Skewering Mao costly for Chinese TV star