News of: Tuesday, January 29 2013,
Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, announced her abdication yesterday, in a nationally televised address.
Holland will have a king, Willem-Alexander, and Queen's Day will become King's Day - which will move to April 27.
Queen Beatrix will end her reign on April 30, exactly 33 years after her accession to the throne in 1980.
At the moment she signs the act of abdication, in the Royal Palace on Dam Square , her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, will become King. His wife, Princess Máxima, will become Queen Máxima, and Beatrix will become Princess Beatrix. Princess Amalia, Willem-Alexander's oldest child, will become Crown Princess and next in line for accession to the throne.
The King will call himself Koning Willem-Alexander, not Koning Willem IV, which many had expected. A reason is not yet known.
Willem-Alexander's inauguration will take place on the same day in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), also on Dam Square. All Dutch kings and queens have been inaugurated in this church, since 1813.
Beatrix mentioned her 75th birthday (on January 31) and this year's 200 years anniversary of the Netherlands as a Kingdom as a reason to make way for Willem-Alexander.
Dutch kings and queens are not crowned, but inaugurated. A coronation is part of a religious ceremony, which does not apply in the Dutch case - the inauguration merely prescribed by state law, and takes place in the presence of Parliament.
It is tradition for a Dutch sovereign to abdicate at a moment of his/her choice, which is unlike the situation in for example the UK, where the sovereign will reign untill his/her death.
The abdication means that April 30 2013 will be the last celebration of Queen's Day. From 2014 on, the Netherlands will celebrate King's Day, and this will no longer be on April 30, but April 27, Willem-Alexander's birthday.
April 30 was Queen's Day because this was the birthday of her mother, Queen Juliana, and Beatrix had decided this was a better day for celebration than her own birthday, on January 31, in the middle of winter.
In 2014, however, King's Day will not be celebrated on April 27, because this is a Sunday. Tradition has it that the celebration is then moved to the day before, Saturday April 26.
This year, there will still be Queen's Day as usual, but of course the area around Dam Square will be partially blocked off, to make way for the inauguration ceremonies in the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk.