Charles and Camilla attend the Queen’s abdication party… but unfortunately for him it’s the Dutch one! European Royals dazzle at ball to celebrate Beatrix of Holland before she steps down today

  • Queen Beatrix will step down after her 33-year long rule so that her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, can be king
  • Hugely popular queen says she believes that the country should be led by a ‘new generation’
  • Nearly a million people expected to hold celebrations to mask the abdication and new monarch

Prince Charles could be forgiven a slight twinge of jealously as he joined European Royals at a stunning abdication party to mark the handover of the Netherland’s throne from Queen Beatrix to her son.

But while the Prince of Wales, 64, is still waiting in the wings to succeed to the British throne, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will become his nation’s first King in more than a century today after his mother abdicated.

Queen Beatrix’s 33 years as head of state seems rather brief when compared to Queen Elizabeth II, who is already into her 61st year as British monarch.

Celebration: Prince Charles and wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for a banquet hosted by the Dutch Royal family at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, last night

Celebration: Prince Charles and wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for a banquet hosted by the Dutch Royal family at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, last night.

Queen Beatrix’s decision to step down from the largely ceremonial role had been widely expected. In her pre-recorded message Queen Beatrix, 75, said she had been thinking about the issue for some years and now was the ‘the moment to lay down my crown.

 

Charles and Camilla join members of the Dutch Royal Family last night for a dinner in honour of Queen Beatrix at the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has just reopened after a lavish €375m renovation.

Today, the Prince and Duchess will attend the investiture of the Crown Prince as King of the Netherlands, at Nieuwe Kirk, in Amsterdam.

He is married to Princess Maxima, a former investment banker from Argentina, and has three young children. She will now become queen consort.

Red carpet: Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, left, accompanies Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, right, as they arrive at the celebration ballRed carpet: Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, left, accompanies Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, right, as they arrive at the celebration ball.

Royal familyWaving farewell to the throne: Queen Beatrix (centre) relinquishes her throne after 33 years, leaving it to her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, left, pictured with his wife Princess Maxima
Maxima
Princess Laurentien arrives at the Dutch Royal Dinner at The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Making an entrance: Crown Princess Maxima, left, and Princess Laurentien, the wife of Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, the third son of Queen Beatrix (right) arrive at the Dutch Royal Dinner at The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

 

Nearly a million are expected to join the street party with dancing to bands and DJs helping create a carnival atmosphere. As always, there will be people on the pavements setting up traditional makeshift bric-a-brac stalls.

Britain’s Prince Charles and Japan’s Crown Princess Masako, who is making her first foreign trip since falling ill a decade ago will be among 2,000 visitors at the official ceremony.

‘There will be tears on Tuesday,’ said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, paying tribute to ‘this formidable lady who has ruled this country for over 30 years’.

 

Royal affair: Belgium's Crown Prince Phillipe and Princess Mathilde arrive for a banquet hosted by the Dutch Royal family at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam this eveningRoyal affair: Belgium’s Crown Prince Phillippe and his wife Princess Mathilde, of noble Polish ancestry, arrive for a banquet hosted by the Dutch Royal family
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend a dinner at the National Museum Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam hosted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the eve of her abdicationLooking regal: Prince Charles, pictured with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has previously joked about being impatient to take Britain’s throne

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, wore a magnificent diamond tiara to the event
Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, left, and Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, right, both wore magnificent jewelled tiaras to the event

Dutch Crown Princess Maxima waved as she left the Royal Palace before the ceremonyDutch Crown Princess Maxima waved as she left the Royal Palace before the ceremony. She wore a variety of stunning jewels for the occasion, which will see her husband take the throne and make her queen consort

Beatrix is to sign the papers enacting the once-in-a-generation change of royal titles Tuesday morning, the central moment in several days of festivities that are already underway.

‘Now that my oldest son is to take over this fine and responsible job tomorrow, it is my deep wish that the new royal couple will feel themselves supported by your loving trust,’ the popular monarch said in a nationally televised address. 

‘I am convinced that Willem-Alexander will apply himself with true devotion for everything a good king is obliged to do.’

Earlier in the day, the streets of Amsterdam began flooding with orange in honor of the ruling House of Oranje-Nassau, as government and noble guests prepared for the ceremonies, and the people of the country got ready for a huge party.

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, left, and his wife Nane Lagergren, right, arrive for a dinner
Spanish Crown Prince Felipe, right, and his wife Princess Letizia arrive at a gala dinner at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and his wife Nane Lagergren arrive, left, while right, Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia, also stride along the red carpet in front of the world’s media before the gala dinner at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

 the red carpet in front of the world’s media before the gala dinner at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Princess Mathilde and Prince Philippe of Belgium
Prince Albert II of Monaco

Grand entrance: The popular Princess Mathilde and Prince Philippe of Belgium, left, and Prince Albert II of Monaco, right, were there to see the abdication, which will lead to the country having its first king since 1890

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway Heir: Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, with his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit is the heir apparent to his country’s throne. The pair have two children together, and the princess has another child from a previous relationship

Princess Mathilde of Belgium (left) and Prince Philippe of Belgium (right) from the neighbouring country, were there to celebrate the change of monarchsPrincess Mathilde of Belgium (left) and Prince Philippe of Belgium (right) from the neighbouring country, were there to celebrate the change of monarchs.

In the historic city center, vendors hawked orange t-shirts, hats and feather boas. Trams flew orange flags, and Dutch flags, as did many of the boats motoring through the city’s ancient canals. Shopkeepers hung orange streamers, set out orange flower displays and rolled in countless kegs of beer.
Meanwhile, city workers finished cleaning the streets, removing unwanted bicycles and setting up temporary urinals, many of them made of bright orange plastic.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told foreign journalists from more than 60 countries Sunday evening that the week’s events involve an ‘unprecedented logistical and security operation’ that was organized in just three months. Beatrix announced her intention to abdicate in January.

Crown prince Billah and Princess Sarah of Brunei arrive for the dinner at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam hosted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the eve of her abdication
Princess Christina of the Netherlands, left, and Princess Irene

Regal: Crown prince Billah and Princess Sarah of Brunei, left, and Princess Christina of the Netherlands, pictured on the left with Princess Irene of the Netherlands, arrived for the dinner on the eve of her abdication after 33 years rule. Queen Beatrix says it is time the country was led by a new generation

Prince Daniel of Sweden, left, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, centre, and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan arrive Royal flush: Prince Daniel of Sweden, left, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, centre, and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan were there to see the abdication, which has been emotionally celebrated across the country

Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, left, and Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg arrive for a dinner at the occasion of the abdication of Dutch Queen Beatrix and the investiture of Prince Willem Alexander as King
Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik, right, and Crown Princess Mary attend a dinner at the National Museum (Rijksmuseum) in Amsterdam hosted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the eve of her abdication

Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg and Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, left, by Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, right, were among the European royals who attended. It is tradition for heads of state not to attend such occasions

Royal line-up: Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary lead the way as they enter the event Royal line-up: Glamorous-looking Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary lead the way as they enter the event

oyal line-up: Glamorous-looking Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary lead the way as they enter the event

Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, his wife Princess Laurentien, right, and Princess Mabel of Orange-NassauPrince Constantijn of the Netherlands, his wife Princess Laurentien, right, and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, , the wife of Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau (second son of Queen Beatrix)
Princess Mabel, wife of Prince Friso, links arms with Queen Beatrix's youngest son, Prince Constantijn, Princess Mabel, (left) wife of Prince Friso, links arms with Queen Beatrix’s youngest son, Prince Constantijn, who was joined by his Princess Laurentien, (right) who he married in 2001

More than a million people are expected in Amsterdam Tuesday, with 10,000 uniformed police, 3,000 plainclothes officers and an untold number of civil servants assisting in the logistics.

The airspace above Amsterdam was closed Monday for three days. Dutch police swept Dam square for bombs, with assistance from German agents with sniffer dogs.

Royal guests from 18 countries arrived in the course of the day, and city traffic was frequently interrupted by limousines with tinted windows and police escorts.

Among the many notables on hand are Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and the Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.

Charles was also in attendance when Beatrix was crowned in 1980.

Masako’s father is a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It is her first official overseas trip since the couple’s 2002 visit to New Zealand and Australia.

ueen Beatrix was flanked by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (right) and her eldest son and soon-to-be-king Crown Prince Willem-AlexanderAt the lavish feast Queen Beatrix was flanked by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (right) and her eldest son and soon-to-be-king Crown Prince Willem-Alexander (left)
Sumptuous: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, centre, hosts a sumptuous dinner this evening at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which was attended by Royal dignitaries and officials, on the eve of her abdicationSumptuous: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, centre, hosted a sumptuous dinner on the eve of her abdication at the National Museum, which has undergone a lavish ¿375m renovation
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, centre, hosted the gala dinner Extravagant: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, centre, hosted the gala dinner – attended by Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco (left), Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (second left), Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (second right) and Princess Maxima – in the stunning surroundings of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

A poll released Monday by national broadcaster NOS showed that Willem-Alexander’s popularity has swelled in the run-up to his accession, mostly due to a relaxed and confident performance in an interview that was televised nationally earlier this month.

He said he’s not a stickler for protocol, and he believes that ‘even the ultimate symbol of a ceremonial monarchy – cutting ribbons – can be very substantive.’

He explained that he will be able to indicate by his selection of which events and openings to attend the things he believes are important for the Netherlands.

He said he sees the function of the monarchy is to act as a living symbol of unity for the nation.

Exquisite: The stunning view of the dinner hosted by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which recently opened after a ¿375m renovation Exquisite: The stunning view shows the opulent surroundings that he dignitaries dined in, as outside civilians took to the streets to welcome their new king
Fit for a King and Queen: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, centre, hosts a dinner on April 29, 2013 at the National MuseumFit for a King and Queen: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was surrounded by Royal figures, including Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who can be seen in sparkling white
Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg (second left) mingled with other guests Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg (second left) mingled with other guests before the candle-lit dinner, which was served in the beautiful museum

Beatrix succeeded her mother, Juliana, as head of state, and she won widespread acclaim and admiration from the Dutch people. Most feel she has proved a supremely competent, if occasionally aloof, head of state over her 33-year reign.

‘My mother taught me that being queen is a position that you carry around with you day and night,’ she said once. ‘You can never forget about it, not for a moment.’

Perhaps most tellingly, since she took office in 1980 the House of Orange has been almost scandal-free, a stark contrast to many other European royal families 

Willem-Alexander has been sworn in as king of the Netherlands at a colourful ceremony attended by 2,000 visitors in Amsterdam.
The 46-year-old became the country’s first king since 1890 when his 75-year-old mother Beatrix signed the abdication deed after 33 years on the throne this morning. As King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxim took centre stage in Nieuwe Kerk, a decommissioned church, Princess Beatrix smiled happily, watching the proceedings with her three granddaughters, who all wore matching royal blue dresses.
The ceremony follows this morning’s abdication when an emotional Princess Beatrix signed over her throne to her eldest son as thousands poured on to the streets of Amsterdam to welcome their first king in more than 100 years.

vFocus: The new King and Queen took center stage in front of 2,000 visitors at the official investiture ceremony in the 600-year-old building Blue vision: Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima take their place in Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Amsterdam for his inauguration.
Grandmother duties:Grandmother duties: Princess Beatrix sat with Catharina-Amalia (from left) Princess of Orange, Princess Ariane and Princess Alexia during the inauguration ceremony.
Focus: King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima were watched by thousands as they took part in the ceremony Focus: King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima were watched by thousands as they took part in the ceremony

Guests: Prince Charles and Camilla in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam for the inauguration of King Willem-AlexanderGuests: Prince Charles and Camilla in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam for the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander.

On show: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands arrives with Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau (back right), Princess Ariane (fourth right), Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (third right) and Princess Alexia On show: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands arrives with Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau (back right), Princess Ariane (fourth right), Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (third right) and Princess Alexia.
Blue vision: Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima arrive at the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Amsterdam for his inauguration

Blue vision: Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima arrive at the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Amsterdam for his inauguration.

Guests arrive to attend the inaugurationGuests arrive to attend the inauguration: The Dutch monarch is never crowned, since, in the absence of a state church, there is no cleric available to carry out the coronation

‘I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king, Willem-Alexander,’ she told the cheering crowd.

Moments later, in a striking symbol of the generational shift, she left the balcony and the new king, his wife and three daughters – the children in matching yellow dresses and headbands – waved to the crowd.

‘Dear mother, today you relinquished the throne. 33 years moving and inspiring years. We are intensely, intensely grateful to you,’ the new king said.

End of an era: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signs the act of abdication next to her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Crown Princess Maxima during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in AmsterdamEnd of an era: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signs the act of abdication next to her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Crown Princess Maxima during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
New generation: Queen Beatrix passes the act of abdication to her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander who smiled widely as he signed the act New generation: Queen Beatrix passes the act of abdication to her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander who smiled widely as he signed the act.
Official: The signed act of abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is seen after the official meeting at the Royal Palace this morningOfficial: The signed act of abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is seen after the official meeting at the Royal Palace this morning
Handover: 'Today, I make way for a new generation,' said Beatrix, 75, who now takes the title of PrincessHandover: ‘Today, I make way for a new generation,’ said Beatrix, 75, who now takes the title of Princess
Goodbye: King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother,Princess Beatrix as they appear on the balcony of the Royal Palace at the Dam SquareGoodbye: King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother as the royal trio appear on the balcony of the Royal Palace at the Dam Square
A man waits for the coronation at the Dam SquarePatriotic: A man waits for the coronation at the Dam Square in Amsterdam this afternoon as the Netherlands prepared for Queen’s Day on April 30, which will also mark the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the investiture of her eldest son Willem-Alexander
Argentinian and Dutch dancers perform a tango for spectators at the Loo Palace on the eve of the upcoming investiture of the country's new King, in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Argentinian and Dutch dancers perform a tango for spectators at the Loo Palace – perhaps n tribute to the new king and his Argentinian born wife, who comes from Buenos Aires, which is famous for producing the provocative dance.

Visitors garther in front of the Royal Palace at the Dam Square on the eve of the upcoming investiture of the country's new King, in Amsterdam, The NetherlandsVisitors garther in front of the Royal Palace at the Dam Square on the eve of the upcoming investiture of the country’s new King

Observers believe Beatrix remained on the throne for so long in part because of unrest in Dutch society as the country struggled to assimilate more and more immigrants, mainly Muslims from North Africa, and shifted away from its traditional reputation as one of the world’s most tolerant nations.

In recent years, speculation about when she might abdicate had grown, as she endured personal losses that both softened her image and increased her popularity further as the public sympathized.

Her husband Prince Claus died in 2002; and last year she was devastated when her youngest son, Prince Friso, was hit by an avalanche while skiing in Austria and suffered severe brain damage. Friso remains in a near comatose state.

In the most emotional part of her farewell Monday, she praised Claus for teaching their children to be attuned to changes in society.
‘Prince Claus brought our House closer to this time,’ she said. ‘Possibly history will show that the choice of this husband was my best decision.’

Source : Mail Online.News