The Hague — Queen Juliana of the Netherlands announced Thursday night that she was abdicating in favor of her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Beatrix. The Queen, speaking to the nation on television and radio, said she would step down on April 30, her 71st birthday.
Thursday was the 42nd birthday of the Crown Princess.
Queen Juliana has ruled over the Netherlands since September 1948, when her mother, Queen Wilhelmina, abdicated in her favor. She has been a widely loved monarch. A public collection on her birthday last year raised $2.6 million, most of which is being spent to help handicapped children.