AMSTERDAM - Queen Beatrix has signed the official act of abdication at the Royal Palace in downtown Amsterdam, making her eldest son Willem-Alexander the first Dutch king in more than 100 years.
The much-loved Beatrix ended her 33-year-reign Tuesday in a nationally televised signing ceremony as thousands of orange-clad people cheered outside and millions more watched on television.
With her abdication, she becomes Princess Beatrix and her son ascends the throne as King Willem-Alexander. He is the first Dutch king since Willem III died in 1890.
The 46-year-old father of three's popular Argentine-born wife becomes Queen Maxima and their eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, becomes Princess Orange and first in line to the throne.
Willem-Alexander gripped his visibly emotional mother's hand after they both signed the abdication document.