After 33 years as the Netherlands’ head of state, Queen Beatrix will formally abdicate on Tuesday, passing the role on to her 46-year-old son.
When the newly-crowned King Willem-Alexander boards the royal barge for a triumphant tour of Amsterdam’s canals on Tuesday, one man could be forgiven for looking on rather wistfully.
Aged 46, Willem-Alexander is an immensely popular figure in the Netherlands, thanks in no small measure to his glamorous and down-to-earth wife Maxima. His family are permitted to live a low-key existence, cycling around the streets of The Hague and going into the supermarkets undisturbed. He will furthermore become the youngest monarch in Europe, following the abdication of his mother Queen Beatrix.
For Prince Charles, one of the hundreds of dignitaries gathering in the Dutch city to mark the occasion, the moment will be a strong reminder of his own position as Britain’s longest-waiting heir to the throne.
‘Impatient? Me? What a thing to suggest,’ Prince Charles joked in November. ‘Yes, of course I am. I’ll run out of time soon. I shall have snuffed it if I’m not careful.’
And while 87-year-old Queen Elizabeth has made it clear she has no intention to step aside, Queen Beatrix, 75, took a different view, announcing in January that she was stepping aside in favor of her son.