Does Dutch Queen's abdication raise Prince Charles' hopes?

A tale of two monarchs: one quits at 74, the other soldiers on at 86

LAST UPDATED AT 11:37 ON Tue 29 Jan 2013

HOLLAND'S 74-year-old Queen has abdicated in favour of her middle-aged son, a move that is set to "open up the debate about Britain's own ageing monarchy", the Daily Mirror says. 

Queen Beatrix made her announcement in a short television and radio address last night, putting an end to her 33-year reign. She said she wanted to put Holland's monarchy in the hands of "a new generation" by abdicating in favour of her 45-year-old son Willem-Alexander.

Most British papers found the parallels between Holland's royal family and Britain's monarchy irresistible. The Daily Mirror said the Dutch abdication will be of "certain interest" to royal watchers in the UK, "given that our Queen is 86 and last year celebrated her 60th anniversary on the throne".

Others took a dig at Prince Charles, who has been the heir apparent for 61 years, but unlike Willem-Alexander seems unlikely to inherit the crown from his elderly mother in the near future. The Mirror's headline: "Queen gives up throne for her son (sorry, Prince Charles, it's Queen Beatrix of Netherlands)" was widely re-tweeted.

Meanwhile the author of a spoof Twitter account called Elizabeth Windsor wrote: "Don't get any ideas, Charles. A party hat is the closest you'll be getting to a crown any time soon."

Willem-Alexander will become king on April 30, becoming the first man to accede to the Dutch throne since 1890.

The Guardian points out that, unlike in the UK, abdication is "in the tradition of the Dutch monarchy". Beatrix's mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated in 1980 and her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, handed over the crown in 1948.

Beatrix was a "popular" Queen who kept a "relatively low profile", says The Guardian, and aspired to an image of "homely normality" by riding her bicycle in The Hague.

There has been speculation that her decision to abdicate was influenced by her wish to spend more time with her second son, Friso, who was badly injured in a skiing accident in Austria last February and has been in a coma in a London clinic ever since. · 

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