Monarchs who abdicated
The abdication of Dutch Queen Beatrix, 75, in favour of her son Willem-Alexander comes after a 33-year reign.
The Netherlands has a history of abdications: Beatrix took over the throne on April 30, 1980, when her mother queen Juliana abdicated on the day of her 71st birthday. Juliana herself took the throne in September 1948, after her mother, queen Wilhelmina, abdicated.
Here is an account of the main abdications in the world over the past century:
- BRITAIN: Edward VIII was forced to abdicate after only several months in power on December 12, 1936, in order to marry divorced American Wallis Simpson, thus avoiding a major constitutional crisis. His younger brother Albert took over the throne under the name of George VI in May 1937. He was the father of the current Queen Elizabeth II.
- ROMANIA: Michael I was forced to abdicate by the communists in December 1947, before going into exile several months later.
- ITALY: Victor-Emmanuel III, the king of Italy since 1900, abdicated on May 9, 1946 because of his collaboration with the fascist regime of dictator Benito Mussolini. His son, Umberto II, nicknamed the "May King", went into exile in June of the same year the day after a referendum setting up the republic.
- BELGIUM: King Leopold III, on the throne since 1934 but controversial because of some of his actions during World War II, abdicated on July 16, 1951 in favour of his son Baudouin I in order to avoid the possibility of major civil unrest after his return to the throne after six years in exile.
- EGYPT: King Farouk I abdicated in July 1952 during the revolution led by Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser, 16 years after his accession to the throne. His son, Fuad II, succeeded him, but was forced to join his family in exile after the proclamation of the republic less than a year later in June 1953.
- LUXEMBOURG: Grand Duke Jean abdicated on October 7, 2000 after a 36-year-reign, and his elder son, prince Henri, took his place. Jean had himself succeeded his mother, the grand duchess Charlotte, after her abdication in 1964.
- CAMBODIA: Norodom Sihanouk, 81, abdicated on October 7, 2004 after being treated in Beijing for cancer. Sihanouk, who came to the throne for the first time in 1941, had already abdicated in 1955, in favour of his father, before becoming again constitutional monarch in 1993. The constitutional council chose as his successor one of his sons, Prince Norodom Sihamoni.
© 2013 AFP