Dutch queen to step down in favour of crown prince

Dutch queen to step down in favour of crown princeThe Hague, Jan 29 - Queen Beatrix announced Monday that she will step down in April after nearly 33 years on the Dutch throne, which means her son Willem-Alexander is set to become the country's first king since the 19th century.

"Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation," the monarch said in a brief televised address.

Beatrix recalled that she is about to turn 75 and said that this is "the moment to lay down my crown" in favour of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, 45.

The queen's first-born has been married since 2002 with Argentine investment banker Maxima Zorreguieta, with whom he has three daughters.

The couple are the most popular figures in the Dutch royal family, above all thanks to Maxima's spontaneous charm.

Beatriz was married in 1966 to the German Claus van Amsberg, who died in 2002. The second of their three sons, Prince Friso, has been in a coma since February 2012, when he was buried under an avalanche on a ski slope in Austria. (IANS)

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