A very wet and windy day, with a gale blowing through most of the afternoon. After the barometer dropped down to 968 mbar, the wind dropped away and as I type this (9.45pm), it seems to be fairly calm out there. Tomorrow, we are in for a repeat performance, but winds are expected to reach stormforce (force 10), with gusts topping 80 mph. Today saw quite a bit of disruption on our ferries; tomorrow will see a heck of a lot more. The peak of the wind will come around midnight, but winds will rise through the day.
This evening, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands announced that she will be abdicating the throne on 30 April this year, three months after her 75th birthday, which will occur next Thursday. Beatrix will make way for her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, who will be 46 in late April. Beatrix is a highly respected figure in Dutch society. The annual Queens Day festivities have been cancelled; in 2014, King's Day will be held on April 27th, the birthday of the new king. It is for the first time in 123 years that a male will be the monarch in Holland. Willem-Alexander is a down-to-earth figure, who is expected to ascend to the throne with only a minimum of the required pomp and circumstance. He is married to an Argentinian woman, Maxima, and has three young children. His brother, Friso, has been in a coma since early 2012 following a skiing accident in Austria, when he was buried in an avalanche.