Queen Beatrix celebrates 73rd birthday

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Queen Beatrix turned 73 on Monday, making her one of the oldest heads of state the Netherlands has ever known. Only King Willem III reached the same age while on the throne: he died in 1890 at the age of 73.

The queen is one of just a few Dutch women in her age group still holding a paid job. Figures provided by the Dutch statistics office show there are only 2,000 73-year-old women in the Netherlands still doing paid work for more than 12 hours a week. Most of the country's professionally active senior citizens are men.

Queen Juliana was 70 years old when she announced her abdication in favour of her daughter Beatrix, who was 42 at the time. Juliana who reigned for 32 years, said she felt her "powers were waning". Beatrix has been on the throne for 31 years.

As far as European monarchs are concerned, Beatrix is somewhere in the middle bracket. The monarchs of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain and Norway are all just a little older than the Dutch queen.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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