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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced plans to step aside in favour of her son.

During a televised address to the nations she said: “I am not abdicating because the position was too hard on me. But because of my belief that the responsibility of this country has to be in the hands of a new generation.”

“With complete trust I will transfer the throne to my son, the Prince of Orange. He and Princess Maxima are fully prepared for their future task,” she added.

Prince Willem-Alexander is due to be crowned on 30 April.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a statement shortly after the Queen’s announcement: “I want to give my respect and admiration for Queen Beatrix’s outstanding services both in and for our country. From the moment she was crowned in 1980 she has given her heart and soul.”

Beatrix assumed the throne after her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated in her favour 33 years ago.

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