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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced her abdication in favour of her son Prince Willem-Alexander.

The oldest reigning monarch in Dutch history, Beatrix will turn 75 in a few days time.

She was crowned in 1980 and is the sixth monarch of the House of Orange.

Dutch opinion polls showed that, while Beatrix remained popular, the majority believed she should step aside for Prince Willem-Alexander, aged 45.

Although there is no requirement for a Dutch monarch to abdicate at a certain age, it has been a tradition in the House of Orange.

Beatrix became queen when her mother Queen Juliana chose to step down in her favour.

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