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QUEEN BEATRIX TO STEP DOWN AS HOLLAND'S HEAD OF STATE

Monday, January 28, 2013 - Dutch royal Queen Beatrix has announced she is stepping down as the nation's head of state, so her son can become king.

Beatrix will abdicate the throne on 30 April after over three decades as queen.

In a speech aired on local television on Monday (28Jan13), the 74 year old said, "Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation. I am deeply grateful for the great faith you have shown in me in the many years that I could be your queen."

Her decision comes as the people of the Netherlands prepare to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the country's monarchy, the House of Orange, at the end of the year.

Beatrix came to the throne in 1980.

The king-in-awaiting, 45, is a trained pilot and has often joined his mother on state visits.

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