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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will return to being a princess

Prince Willem-Alexander will take the throne of the Netherlands left by his mother, Queen Beatrix, who is stepping down Tuesday. (Michel Porro/Getty Images)

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is doing something Tuesday that is normal in the working world but very unusual among royalty: She’s retiring.

The 75-year-old queen is handing over her job to her oldest son, Willem-Alexander, 46, who is married and has three young children.

When she announced her decision in January, Beatrix said she wasn’t retiring because the job was too tough but because it was time to let a new generation take over.

That opinion isn’t shared by most European kings and queens — Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is still serving at age 87 — but Beatrix is following a tradition in the Netherlands. She took over from her mother, Queen Juliana, when she abdicated, or stepped down, in 1980. Juliana’s mother, Wilhelmina, gave up the throne in 1948.

Beatrix won’t get a senior title such as queen mother when she retires. She will be known simply as Princess Beatrix, the title she had at birth.

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