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01.28.13

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands Abdicates

What's that loud coughing noise coming from Prince Charles's rooms?

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has officially abdicated in favor of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.

The 75-year-old monarch  made the announcement live on TV a few minutes ago, at 7pm local time.

Queen Beatrix has been head of state since 1980, when her mother abdicated, who herself succeeded Queen Wilhelmina, who abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68.

Her own abdication has been widely expected for some time.

Recent years have been touched by tragedy for the Dutch royal family. In March last year her second son Prince Johan Friso was struck by an avalanche in Austria and remains in a coma.