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Charles and Camilla attend the Queen’s abdication party… but unfortunately for him it’s the Dutch one! European Royals dazzle at ball to celebrate Beatrix of Holland before she steps down today

  • Queen Beatrix will step down after her 33-year long rule so that her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, can be king
  • Hugely popular queen says she believes that the country should be led by a ‘new generation’
  • Nearly a million people expected to hold celebrations to mask the abdication and new monarch

Prince Charles could be forgiven a slight twinge of jealously as he joined European Royals at a stunning abdication party to mark the handover of the Netherland’s throne from Queen Beatrix to her son.

But while the Prince of Wales, 64, is still waiting in the wings to succeed to the British throne, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will become his nation’s first King in more than a century today after his mother abdicated.

Queen Beatrix’s 33 years as head of state seems rather brief when compared to Queen Elizabeth II, who is already into her 61st year as British monarch.

Celebration: Prince Charles and wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for a banquet hosted by the Dutch Royal family at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, last night.

Queen Beatrix’s decision to step down from the largely ceremonial role had been widely expected. In her pre-recorded message Queen Beatrix, 75, said she had been thinking about the issue for some years and now was the ‘the moment to lay down my crown.

Charles and Camilla join members of the Dutch Royal Family last night for a dinner in honour of Queen Beatrix at the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has just reopened after a lavish €375m renovation.

Today, the Prince and Duchess will attend the investiture of the Crown Prince as King of the Netherlands, at Nieuwe Kirk, in Amsterdam.

He is married to Princess Maxima, a former investment banker from Argentina, and has three young children. She will now become queen consort.

Observers believe Beatrix remained on the throne for so long in part because of unrest in Dutch society as the country struggled to assimilate more and more immigrants, mainly Muslims from North Africa, and shifted away from its traditional reputation as one of the world’s most tolerant nations.

In recent years, speculation about when she might abdicate had grown, as she endured personal losses that both softened her image and increased her popularity further as the public sympathized.

Her husband Prince Claus died in 2002; and last year she was devastated when her youngest son, Prince Friso, was hit by an avalanche while skiing in Austria and suffered severe brain damage. Friso remains in a near comatose state.

In the most emotional part of her farewell Monday, she praised Claus for teaching their children to be attuned to changes in society.
‘Prince Claus brought our House closer to this time,’ she said. ‘Possibly history will show that the choice of this husband was my best decision.’Source : Mail Online.News

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