Skip to main content

Will any of Europe's other older royals step down?

By Roger Clark, CNN, and Royal Correspondent Max Foster
April 30, 2013 -- Updated 2152 GMT (0552 HKT)
Spain's King Felipe VI, left, promises a monarchy for "new times" following the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos. Here, father and son attend a ceremony Thursday, June 19, in Madrid before the new king's official coronation. Click through to see other European royal heirs: Spain's King Felipe VI, left, promises a monarchy for "new times" following the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos. Here, father and son attend a ceremony Thursday, June 19, in Madrid before the new king's official coronation. Click through to see other European royal heirs:
HIDE CAPTION
The royal lines
The royal lines
The royal lines
The royal lines
The royal lines
The royal lines
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands hands over the crown to her son
  • Older monarchs are on the thrones in Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium
  • Some analysts say the younger generation is best suited for the demands of modern monarchies

(CNN) -- As royalty from different parts of the world converged on the Netherlands to watch the monarchy change hands, some of the guests there may have been thinking ahead to the day when they get the top job back home.

In Europe, most monarchs are getting old and have been on their thrones for years. Their offspring are grown up and are now waiting in the wings to take their respective crowns.

Britain's Prince Charles was in Amsterdam to watch Queen Beatrix hand over to her 46-year-old son Willem-Alexander. He was also in the Netherlands when Beatrix herself took the throne from her mother 33 years ago on Queen Juliana's abdication. Charles's new Dutch counterpart is Amalia, The Princess of Orange, who is nine.

Was Charles wondering when his turn would come? Perhaps, but that of course would involve the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. One thing is for sure -- his 61-year wait as heir to the throne won't end with the abdication of his mother.

To the British royals, the word "abdication" brings back painful memories of the 1936 crisis when King Edward VIII was forced to relinquish his throne so he could marry the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson and relinquished his throne. Queen Elizabeth will never abdicate. The other long-serving European Queen, Margrethe of Denmark also sees it as a job for life.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands kisses her son, the now King Willem-Alexander as the now Queen Maxima looks on during a short address to the public after Queen Beatrix abdicated ahead of the investiture of Willem-Alexander on Tuesday, April 30, in Amsterdam, in this image provided by Netherlands Government Information Service. Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands kisses her son, the now King Willem-Alexander as the now Queen Maxima looks on during a short address to the public after Queen Beatrix abdicated ahead of the investiture of Willem-Alexander on Tuesday, April 30, in Amsterdam, in this image provided by Netherlands Government Information Service.
The Netherlands' new king
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
>
>>
Photos: The Netherlands\' new king Photos: The Netherlands' new king
Newly wed Beatrix and Prince Claus in Amsterdam on March 10, 1966. Prince Claus died aged 76 on October 6, 2002 at a hospital in Amsterdam. Newly wed Beatrix and Prince Claus in Amsterdam on March 10, 1966. Prince Claus died aged 76 on October 6, 2002 at a hospital in Amsterdam.
The Dutch royal family in photos
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
The Dutch royal family in photos The Dutch royal family in photos
Dutch celebrate royal handover of power

However, both Margrethe and Elizabeth are handing more responsibilities to their heirs. One option might be for them to appoint their sons Princes Regent which would mean they would be in charge of royal duties while their mothers kept the title.

Crown princes and princesses across Europe look ready to take on the task of modern-day monarchy with all the burdens that some believe can only be carried by younger royals.

Opinion: Dutch monarchs teach world's royalty

In Spain, 75-year-old year old King Juan Carlos's popularity has waned. And that's led to suggestions, even among monarchists, that his heir, Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia take over the throne.

In Sweden, King Carl Gustaf is 67. He's been on the throne for 40 years and has recently been scandalized in the press. His heir, Crown Princess Victoria is married to Prince Daniel and has a baby daughter, Princess Estelle, as the next two generations there take shape.

And over in Norway, King Harald is in his mid-70s with an heir who will be 40 in July. Crown Prince Haakon is married to Princess Mette-Marit. The couple have had two children.

iReport: Happy crowds applaud new king

All of these heirs also have something in common that makes them appealing to a modern, more relaxed generation. They have all married outside the aristocracy, making them more accessible and relevant to younger subjects.

But while the precedent of abdication has set in the Netherlands, it hasn't yet taken hold elsewhere. However, in an age when the pope resigns, don't be surprised if other older royals take some sort of cue from Beatrix.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT