MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced she will step down in favor of her son, Prince Willem Alexander, on April 30, DutchNews portal reported.
The queen said in a short address on national television and radio on Monday that it was the right time to pass the reins of power to “a new generation,” as her son is ready to be king.
“I have been thinking about it for some time,” the queen said. “I am not standing down because the role is too heavy for me, but in the conviction that responsibility for our country should now lie with a new generation.”
Queen Beatrix, who will soon be 75, enjoys high approval ratings and is considered one of the most popular ruling monarchs in Europe.
She ascended the throne in 1980 after her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated in her favor at the age of 70.
Dutch sources speculate that Beatrix will return to live in Drakensteyn castle and devote herself to her grandchildren, while advising Willem-Alexander on his new role.
Willem-Alexander, who turns 46 on April 27, will be the first king of the Netherlands since William III who died in 1890.
He is currently chairman of the UN secretary general's advisory board on water and sanitation. He is also known as a keen sports fan and the only Dutch member of the International Olympic Committee.
Willem-Alexander is married to Maxima Zorreguieta, the daughter of a former member of the Argentine junta. The couple has three children.
Starting in 2014, Queen's Day will become King's Day and will be celebrated on April 27th rather than on April 30.