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Willem-Alexander becomes first Dutch king in more than 100 years

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April 30, 2013: Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, right, and Princess Beatrix appear on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.AP

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.