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Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced today that after a reign of almost 33 years she will abdicate the throne in favor of her eldest son, HRH The Prince of Orange, on April 30, 2013.

Although there is a strong tradition of abdication in the Netherlands it is not mandatory so in some ways this comes as a bit of a shock. I had thought she would hold onto the throne until her death. She seemed to enjoy and relish her role/job as Queen. She is very popular in the Netherlands and excelled in performing her duties.

It was also announced that her son will be known as King Willem-Alexander. While I do like double names I also like Roman numerals after royal names so I had thought (and hoped) that he would be called King Willem IV. There was also some speculation that his wife, Princess Maxima, would not have the title of Queen but the prime minister mentioned her future title as Queen specifically.

Willem-Alexander will be the first King of the Netherlands since the death of King Willem III in 1890. Ever since then the Netherlands has had women serve as queens. Williem-Alexander’s heir is his eldest daughter Catherina-Amalia.