Dutch Queen Beatrix to give nationally televised speech; speculation grows she will abdicate

Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Dutch Royal House says Queen Beatrix will deliver a nationally televised speech this evening and speculation is growing that the popular monarch will announce she is to abdicate.

Beatrix, who turns 75 on Thursday, has ruled the nation of 16 million for more than 32 years and would be succeeded by her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.

The Royal House announced Monday afternoon that the speech was recorded earlier in the day at Beatrix's Huis ten Bosch palace on the outskirts of The Hague and will be aired on television and radio at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

The announcement made no mention of the subject of the speech and the Royal House refused to comment further.

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