Dutch royal Crown Prince Willem-Alexander became the nation's first male monarch in more than a century on Tuesday (30Apr13) after his mother Queen Beatrix stepped down as the head of state.

Beatrix chose to abdicate the throne after a 33-year reign and will now hold the title of Princess Beatrix while her son is elevated to King Willem-Alexander, the first Dutch king since 1890.

Struggling to contain her emotions, the much-loved Queen ended her reign in a nationally televised ceremony as both royals signed the official abdication document at the Royal Palace in Dam Square, Amsterdam.

The King's Argentine-born wife is now titled Queen Maxima and their eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia became Princess of Orange and first in line to the throne.

The shift of power comes as the people of the Netherlands prepare to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the country's monarchy, the House of Orange, at the end of the year (13).