And even in a job that is mostly symbolic to begin with, the previous government stripped her of one of her few remaining powers: the ability to name a candidate to begin Cabinet formation after the election of the national parliament.
Beatrix’s reign began in difficult economic times and there were riots in Amsterdam at her inauguration, as thousands of demonstrators protesting the city’s housing shortages fought pitched battles with police just a few hundred meters (yards) from the downtown palace where she was crowned.
But throughout her tenure she was a calming influence on society, particularly in the aftermath of the 2002 assassination of populist politician Pim Fortuyn and the murder two years later of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist.
Personal tragedies have exposed a softer side of the queen and brought her closer to her subjects.
The 2002 death of her German-born husband, Prince Claus, took a toll on her, and it was apparent how deep her reliance on the quiet man had been: she was filmed leaning heavily, almost hanging, on Prince Friso’s arm as they entered the church for her spouse’s funeral.
In another blow, a deranged loner tried to slam a car into an open-topped bus carrying members of the royal family as they celebrated the Queens Day national holiday in 2009. The driver killed seven people who had gathered to watch the royals, a brazen attack that shocked the nation.
Friso, who had been such a support after Claus’ death, remains in a coma. Late last year, the Royal House said he showed ‘‘very minimal’’ signs of consciousness.
‘‘I think it’s a good time for her to leave, with all that happened in her life recently,’’ said 44-year-old Bert Duesenberg of The Hague as he stood at the queen’s palace gates. ‘‘I also think that Alexander is ready to take over, and he has to do that. It is good news, and it’s time for the change.’’
Associated Press writer Toby Sterling contributed from Amsterdam and Alex Furtula contributed from The Hague.