Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has addressed the nation for the last time. Almost 33 years to the day after she was crowned, the Dutch monarch bid a touching farewell to her loyal people, and reflected on her many years on the throne.
During her final discourse, Beatrix thanked her subjects for their "heart-warming displays of affection" and spoke lovingly of her beloved late husband, Prince Claus, who passed away in 2002.
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"Without your heart-warming and encouraging displays of affection, the burdens, which certainly have existed, would have weighed heavily," she said. Paying tribute to her husband, she said he had helped modernise the House of Orange.
"Perhaps history will bear out that the choice of my partner was my best decision," she said.
Despite the enormity of the task at hand, the woman known affectionately as Queen Bea remained poised as she gave her last address, drawing on her many years as a public figure to deliver a concise but heartfelt speech.
With warmth and love she spoke about her son, Willem-Alexander, and his Argentina-born wife Princess Maxima, on the eve of his investiture.
At 10am on Tuesday morning, the Queen will sign the abdication document, signalling the start of Willem-Alexander's reign, and she urged her people to show their support as he prepares to lead the nation.
"Now that my oldest son is to take over this fine and responsible job tomorrow, it is my deep wish that the new royal couple will feel themselves supported by your loving trust," she said in her nationally televised address.
"I am convinced that Willem-Alexander will apply himself with true devotion for everything a good king is obliged to do."
Following the speech, which was broadcast on Nos television and radio, the monarch hosted a farewell dinner at the Rijksmuseum, attended by royals from around the world, with Prince Charles and Camilla representing the UK.
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