Queen Juliana of the Netherlands announced her abdication on Thursday (31 January) after a popular reign lasting more than 31 years.
GV SOESTIJK palace in central Netherlands
CU Queen Juliana speaking in Dutch
1948: LV INT & CU Queen Juliana at inauguration
SV Queen Wilhelmina speaking to crowds from balcony and leading cheers
TV Crowds cheering, Queen Wilhelmina leaving balcony, children entering and Waving (2 shots)
1937: TV INT Wedding service (3 shots)
1938: SV Princess Juliana holding Princess Beatrix (2 shots)
1966: SCU Princess Beatrix and fiance walking in grounds of palace
SV Police arresting demonstrators during riots, gas bombs exploding into crowd (4 shots)
1971 Indonesia: SV Queen Juliana out of car
SV Crowds waving flags as Queen and Prince walk to war heroes' monument
LV Queen and Prince laying wreath on monument standing in silence (3 shots)
1974 Ivory Coast: CU INT Queen Juliana receiving keys of Abidjan
SV Prince Bernhard holding key, Queen Juliana signs book, Prince Bernhard looks on (3 shots)
1973 Kenya: SV Prince Bernhard with Kenyan Minister walking across lawn, sitting at table, signing agreement (3 shots)
CV Flamingos on lake, CU Prince Bernhard looking through binoculars (2 shots)
1973: GV Mounted guards escorting Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard in anniversary drive (2 shots)
SV Princes Beatrix and Prince Claus in carriage
SV Crowds cheer as Queen Juliana's coach arrives at palace (3 shots)
LV Royal family wave from balcony
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Background: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands announced her abdication on Thursday (31 January) after a popular reign lasting more than 31 years. Speaking with tears in her eyes, Queen Juliana revealed in a national radio and television address that she will step down on her 71st birthday on April the 30th this year, in favour of her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Beatrix, who is aged 42. Queen Juliana said her advancing age had convinced her it would be irresponsible to continue as monarch.
SYNOPSIS: The announcement by Queen Juliana, made from her official residence at Soestijk Palace in the central Netherlands, surprised the Dutch. It was not so much the news, but the timing that caused that surprise. There has been widespread speculation for years that Queen Juliana would relinquish her throne, although there was no hint recently that the abdication could be imminent. Queen Juliana explained her decision, saying that for everyone who is growing old, there comes a time when strength fade and one can no longer fulfil one's tasks as before. In three months, Beatrix will be Queen.
Queen Juliana came to the throne in 1948 in identical circumstances, when her own mother abdicated. She was then thirty-nine. Queen Wilhelmina announced her decision to the Dutch people and called on their wholehearted support for Juliana.
Queen Wilhelmina, who was sixty-eight, set the precedent. The reason for her abdication was remarkably similar -- on the grounds of age. She slipped away from the cheering crowds and from that point, enjoyed a graceful retirement, living in the royal background until she was eighty-two.
Princess Juliana, as she was then, married Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld in 1937. He was German-born, but took Dutch nationality the year before the wedding. His personal crisis, which rocked the Dutch royal family, came in 1976, when it was proved he accepted a one-million dollar bribe from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the United States. The Prince bowed out of public life, but Queen Juliana held on to the throne.
Juliana's and Bernhard's first child, Princess Beatrix, was born in 1938. They had four children -- all girls.
Crown Princess Beatrix, now soon to be Queen, was engaged in 1965 to businessman, Claus von Amsberg -- coincidentally, born in Germany. The match provoked noisy protests. The people of the Netherlands had not forgotten the war, and memories were bitter. Ten years or so before, there was another wave of temporary unpopularity for the Royal family with rumours that Queen Juliana had come under the influence of a faith healer.
Nine years ago, Queen Juliana paid an historic visit to Indonesia -- the Dutch colony to which, earlier in her reign, she had granted independence. Dutch sovereignty lasted three centuries -- now she paid tribute to those killed in the independence struggle.
The city of Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast, honoured Queen Juliana in its traditional way with the formal presentation of its keys. The royal couple spent three days on the Ivory Coast and during the same 1974 tour, visited Senegal and Liberia. Prince Bernhard was soon to drop out of public favour over the Lockheed episode.
The Prince was no stranger to Africa. As President of the World Wildlife Fund, he had travelled widely. Here, in Kenya, he signed an agreement extending a wildlife park. The preservation of animals in their natural state remains one of the consort's chief interests -- along with flying.
Queen Juliana has dedicated much of her reign to informalising the royal court -- and despite the pomp, the Silver Jubilee in 1973 was an occasion she shared freely with both family and subjects. By then, she had nine grandchildren -- and at last, a male heir. Crown Princess Beatrix and husband, Prince Claus, have three sons. this alone has done much to persuade the Dutch to forget the occasional unhappiness of the past. And it has now become Juliana's turn to slip away from the cheering crowd.