LONDON, UK (CBS) -- Huge crowds filled the streets of Amsterdam to watch Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands turn over power to her son. The 75-year-old said it is time for someone younger to take the throne.
Tens of thousands gathered around the royal palace in Amsterdam to watch Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands sign away her crown after 33 years on the throne.
The popular monarch abdicated in favor of her son, now King, Willem Alexander. It happened on a national holiday so it drew a big crowd. Many wore the royal family's color of orange.
Two-thousand VIPS from all over the world joined in the celebrating, including Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
In the Netherlands, kings or queens traditionally retire. But in Britain, rulers tend to serve for life. Prince Charles has been waiting for 64 years and counting as his mother, Queen Elizabeth, holds onto the crown.
At 75, Queen Beatrix said it was time for a new generation to take over. She was nicknamed Queen Bea. King Willem plans to continue the informality shunning the title "your majesty".
He is Europe's youngest monarch at 46 and the Netherland's first king for more than a century. Married with three children, his oldest daughter 9-year-old Katerina Amalia is now next in line to the throne.
The new King says he hopes to be a 21st century leader who unites and encourages his people. The Netherlands is a nation of about 17 million people still struggling to recover from Europe's financial crisis.