At 17:00 (Dutch time) it was made known Her Majesty Queen Beatrix will make an announcement two hours later in a special broadcast on television and radio. No information was given about the content of the announcement but immediately rumours circulated Her Majesty will formally announce her abdication in a message that had been recorded earlier in the day.
Rumours proved to be correct and on 28 January 2013, at 19:00, the Queen announced her intention to abdicate on 30 April (Queen’s Day) – the day that will also mark the 33rd anniversary of her accession to the Throne.
The broadcast was followed by a statement from Prime Minister Mark Rutte who paid tribute to the Queen, saying “Since her accession to the throne in 1980, she dedicated her heart and soul for Dutch society”. The Prime Minister expressed his respect and admiration for the Queen, and called her “an icon of the Netherlands”.
The highly popular Queen will be the third successive Dutch Monarch to voluntarily abdicate the Throne, following her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, and her mother, Queen Juliana.
The Queen’s abdication speech in English:
“As you are all aware, in a few days I will be celebrating my 75th birthday; I am grateful to face the day in good health. And at the end of this we will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of our monarchy, which marked the beginning of a new era. These two special events inspired me to decide that this is also the year to abdicate. It is a good time to take this step which I have considered for a few years now.
This role has given me a great satisfaction; I joined you in your sorrows and shared with the times of joy and national pride. I have been able to visit every part of our Kingdom, where I always found warmth and kindness. I therefore go not because the office was too heavy for me, but because the responsibility for this country should lie in the hands of a new generation.
It is with the greatest confidence that I shall hand over this Kingdom to my son, the Prince of Orange, on 30 April. He and Princess Maxima are fully prepared for their future role. They will serve our country with dedication, faithful to the Constitution, and employing their talents to their own vision of the Monarch.
I feel stronger at the thought that making way for my successor does not mean I say goodbye to you: I still hope to meet many of you. I am deeply grateful to you for the trust you had in my during the many brilliant years I have been your Queen”.
Video of the Queen’s abdication speech: