The signing ceremony looked rather simple, but the celebrations seemed joyous Tuesday in Amsterdam as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands handed over the crown to her son Willem-Alexander.
He becomes, as we wrote Monday, the first Dutch king since Willem III’s death in 1890.
By abdicating, the 75-year-old Beatrix is following a recent tradition. The BBC notes that “Queen Beatrix’s mother Juliana resigned the throne in 1980 on her 71st birthday, and her grandmother Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68.”
The new king just turned 46. According to his official bio, “Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand was born in the University Hospital, Utrecht, on 27 April 1967.” The new queen is Máxima, “born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 May 1971 as Máxima Zorreguieta.”
The royal couple have three daughters: “Their first child, Princess Catharina-Amalia, was born on 7 December 2003. Their second child, Princess Alexia, was born on 26 June 2005, and their third child, Princess Ariane, on 10 April 2007.”
Being king does not mean Willem-Alexander can weigh in on affairs of state: “Since 1848, the Constitution has laid down that the monarch is inviolable. This means that the monarch is politically neutral and the ministers are accountable to Parliament for government policy.”