Europe’s club of monarchs is about to get a new member: In an address to her nation today, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands said she will abdicate her throne on April 30. Her son, prince Willem-Alexander is to take over.
Queen Beatrix has been the head of state since 1980, but with steadily diminishing power and now a largely ceremonial role. In the past few years, the Dutch Parliament has limited the monarchy’s impact on politics and withdrew the queen’s ability to initiate a coalition. New representatives were hired for several political positions.
The Dutch monarchy system is unlikely to change. In a 2011 survey, 75% of the population said they support the monarchy.
Beatrix will turn 75 on Jan. 31, and media reports say her decision was driven by wanting to spend more time with her family. In March 2011, Beatrix’ second son, prince Johan Friso, was struck by an avalanche in Austria. He remains in a coma.