Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands celebrates her 76th birthday on 30 January. This is the former queen’s first birthday since she abdicated in April 2013 in favour of her son, the now King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima.
To honour Beatrix’s birthday, ! Online has compiled ten facts about the Dutch royal.
1. Beatrix was born Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld on January 31,1938, at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands. She was the eldest daughter of four children for Queen Juliana and her German-born aristocrat husband, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.
2. On 28 January 2013, Beatrix gave a televised address to the nation in which she announced that she would be abdicating in favour of her son Williem-Alexander on 30 April of the same year. The Queen said it was time to “place the responsibility for the country in the hands of a new generation.”
3. After the announcement the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte praised her commitment to the Netherlands. “The Queen was there for us in good times, but also bad times,” he said. “Her knowledge and compassion made her an icon of the Netherlands.”
4. The Dutch royal’s reign was not without tragedy. Her husband Prince Claus died in 2002, less than four months after the birth of his first grandchild. Further heartache would strike the family in February 2012, when Beatrix’s son Prince Friso was buried in an avalanche in Austria which left him in coma for a year and a half before he passed away in August 2013.
5. The former monarch was known as “Trix” at school, and later went on to study at Leiden University where she graduated with a degree in politics in July 1961. Beatrix had decided to study subjects that would be beneficial to her future role as the Queen of the Netherlands.
6. Beatrix is cousin to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and she is godmother to his daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
7. Beatrix was named one of the richest royals in the world by Forbes magazine in 2007 and she once gave Queen Elizabeth II, with whom she enjoys a warm friendship, a horse as a gift.
8. In 1940, during World War II, her family left the Netherlands ahead of the Nazi occupation and took refuge in the United Kingdom and Canada. Beatrix was aged just two at the time.
9. Beatrix married German diplomat Claus van Amsberg on 10 March 1966, and the couple had three children, the now King Willem-Alexander in 1967, and his younger brothers Prince Friso, who was born in 1968, and Prince Constantijn, who was born in 1969.
10. After her abdication, Beatrix returned to Drakensteyn Castle, the marital home she shared with her late husband, to enjoy her retirement. The much-loved and respected royal has continued with duties in the Netherlands.