It has been explained that Wilhelmina considered herself entitled to style herself as a princess, with the qualification of Royal Highness, by virtue of being her father's daughter -- not an abdicated queen.
HOWEVER, I can think of ONE justification for each of these women adopting a lower title after abdication. It's that the Netherlands is a KINGDOM, meaning that the sovereign is always a king. Of course, the said king can be female -- and indeed, males and females have equal inheritance rights.
The point is that QUEEN, then, is largely a courtesy title denoting either the consort of an enthroned king or a female king. The latter is exactly what Wilhelmina, Juliana, and Beatrix were during their reigns. But as a concession to tradition, none cared to actually call herself a king: hence, the queen title (as women who occupied the kingly throne).
Indeed, if I understand correctly, Wilhelmina was technically enthroned as a KING, on the occasion of her legal majority (in 1898): that was the actually wording of the ceremony. It has, in fact, been stated that queens do not constitutionally exist in the Netherlands.
It remains to be seen, then, whether Maxima (should she survive her husband) continues styling herself with the title of Queen. But I agree with you, in that I wish to God that Wilhelmina had not set the precedent for what she did, when in 1948 she abdicated the throne.
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