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Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima arrive for the state dinner

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With a warm smile and a wave to well-wishers, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands arrived for a farewell dinner at the Rijksmuseum on Monday evening. Marking her last official function as monarch, Beatrix is hosting a formal gathering for royal guests and dignitaries on the eve of her son Willem-Alexander's investiture. At 10am on Tuesday morning, she will sign the abdication document and once again become a princess as she steps down from the thrown after 33 years of service.

pRINCESS MAXIMA© Photo: Getty Images


The elegant Dutch queen, 75, was dressed in a lilac ensemble, and adorning her head was the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, which she wore on her wedding day and also during a glittering state visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.Beatrix arrived for the state dinner with her son, Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima. Less than 24 hours before they are due to step onto the world stage as rulers of their country, the couple looked happy and relaxed as they escorted the queen to the momentous event.For the occasion, Princess Maxima opted for a red ruffle dress by Valentino which she has previously worn in 2008 to a Gala Party hosted by Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate the 60th Birthday of her son Prince Charles. Her head was adorned with a beautiful rose cut diamond Bandeau Tiara, which consists of 27 large old mine diamonds which are set as a single graduating row on a light platinum wire frame. It will no doubt be an evening of mixed emotion for Beatrix, as she prepares to hand over the monarchy to her son. In January, she announced her decision to abdicate the throne in favour of Willem-Alexander in a pre-recorded address broadcast on TV.She said she had been thinking about stepping aside for several years and that now was "the moment to lay down my crown". Her decision follows protocol — Beatrix has been head of state since 1980, when her mother abdicated.

Princess Maxima© Photo: Getty Images

Beatrix has remained extremely popular with the Dutch people throughout her 33-year reign and is one of the most admired ruling monarchs in Europe. Leading royal representatives from all around the world will turn out to celebrate with her at her very final state dinner, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain and Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Princess Mary.