28 January 2013As you all know, in a few days I hope to celebrate my 75th birthday. I am thankful that I have been granted the opportunity to do so in good health. At the end of this year we shall mark the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, an occasion that ushered in a new era in our history. The fact that these two special events coincide led me to decide to relinquish the throne this year. It seems to me to be an appropriate moment to take this step, which I have been considering for some time.
I have always regarded it as an exceptional privilege to have been able to dedicate a large part of my life to the service of our country and to have been able to discharge the duties of the monarchy as I was called to do. For many years Prince Claus was a great support to me in this task.
Throughout this time I have derived great satisfaction from such a fulfilling role. It is inspiring to feel close to people, to sympathise with them in times of sorrow and to share in times of joy and national pride. That has also been my experience in the Caribbean parts of our Kingdom, where I have always encountered great warmth and hospitality. So I am abdicating not because my duties are becoming too burdensome, but because I am convinced that it is time for the responsibility for our country to pass to a new generation. On 30 April this year, with the utmost confidence, I shall hand over the duties of the monarchy to my son, the Prince of Orange. He and Princess Máxima are fully prepared for their future role. They will serve our country with dedication, faithfully uphold the Constitution and use their many talents to discharge the duties of the monarchy in their own distinctive way.
I feel fortified by the knowledge that making way for my successor does not mean that I am taking my leave of you all. I hope still to have plenty of opportunities to meet many of you. I am deeply grateful to you for the trust that you have placed in me throughout the many rewarding years I have had the privilege of being your Queen.