Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who has reigned since 1980, when her mother, Queen Juliana stepped down from the throne, is expected to announced her abdication in favor of her oldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, today. According to the BBC, the Queen will set April 30 of this year as the date for the transition of power. Queen Beatrix is the third female to head the nation, and the third monarch in her family to step down; her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, who became queen in 1890, abdicated in 1948 to be succeeded by Beatrix’s mother Juliana.
Wilhelmina was the first female sovereign of the Netherlands, becoming queen after the country changed its succession laws in the wake of the deaths of her half-brothers in order that she might succeed her father, William III. Thus, for the past 123 years, a woman has been head of the Dutch royal house.
The Netherlands now recognizes cognatic succession, giving equal rights to males and females. The eldest child of the monarch, whether male or female, inherits the throne. Willem-Alexander and his wife, Maxima, have three daughters, making it likely that after Willem’s reign another woman will take the throne.