Royal families have been in the news the last few years. Two years ago, Prince William married Kate Middleton. Last year, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. That’s celebrating sixty years on the throne for us Yanks. And this year, there was the joyous news of a new royal baby.
Now, there is a bit of royal news coming out of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced her retirement this week. Unlike England’s Queen Elizabeth, who is still going strong at 86, Queen Beatrix is a youthful 75, but announced that she would abdicate her thrown on April 30th, Queen’s Day.
You certainly can’t call the old girl classless. In a speech, she said she was stepping down to allow the “new generation” to take over. Queen Beatrix took over from her mother, Queen Juliana, in 1980. Who will replace her? Queen Beatrix’s eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander, 45, will ascend to the throne.
But, Willem-Alexander will be no ordinary King of the Netherlands. He will beome the first king of the Netherlands since 1890, when Willem III died. Unlike previous generations, Queen Beatrix had no shortage of future kings since she had three sons – Willem-Alexander, Friso, and Constantijn.
However, once Willem-Alexander is ready to abdicate, it looks like the Netherlands will get another Queen as he and his wife, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, have three young daughters – Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane.
Willem-Alexander is interested in water management issues. He serves as an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century, was made the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitations, and a patron of the Global Water Partnership.
While the royalty of the Netherlands usually abdicates the thrown around this age (Juliana abdicated on her 70th birthday and her mother, Wilhelmina, abdicated when she was 68), experts say we shouldn’t expect Queen Elizabeth to take this as a clue and follow suit any time soon.