The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a new King: Willem Alexander. His mother, Queen Beatrix, has abdicated, bringing her 33-year reign to a conclusion. In the company of official representatives this morning in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, they signed the formal document – first Beatrix, then Willem Alexander and his wife, the new Queen Consort Maxima, who is originally from Argentina.
Cheers could be heard from the crowd gathered outside, watching each signature on giant screens set up for the occasion. Inside, the three royal daughters also looked on, in what appeared to be a relaxed and happy atmosphere.
The good-natured audience, predominantly dressed in the national colour, orange, waited until half past ten precisely for the King and two Queens to step out onto the palace balcony. Beatrix and then her son both gave everyone, far and wide, their thanks for warm support.
The handover of royal ceremonial power is being seen as a sign of continuity, tradition and regeneration.