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The Dutch state visit to the UK: history and memories

The official announcement that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands will make a state visit to the UK this autumn is confirmation of a long-awaited and hotly anticipated trip. The visit will run between October 23rd and 24th and will see the Dutch royals hosted at Buckingham Palace. Ahead of the visit, Royal Central looks back at past trips between the two nations.

One of the first State Visits the Queen made during her reign was to the Netherlands. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she made a three-day trip in 1958, arriving on the Royal Yacht Britannia on March 25th  where she was greeted by Queen Juliana. The itinerary took the Queen to Amsterdam, Delft and The Hague.

The visit included plenty of state visit staples, among them a carriage procession and a state dinner. Also on the itinerary was a visit to Asscher’s, the famous jewellery house, where the Cullinan diamond had been cut in 1908. The Queen wore one of the brooches taken from the stone for this part of the visit.

In 1972, it was Her Majesty The Queen’s turn to play hostess as she welcomed Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard, on a state visit to the UK. The trip ran between April 11th and April 15th with the Queen of the Netherlands arriving at Windsor for a welcome ceremony at Home Park. The glittering state banquet took place at Windsor Castle on the first night of the visit.

Almost exactly a decade later, the Queen welcomed Juliana’s daughter and successor to the UK for another state visit. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, accompanied by her husband, Prince Claus, arrived on November 16th 1982 for a four-day trip which ran until November 19th. The royal visitors arrived at Westminster Pier where they were welcomed by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by members of the Royal Family including the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Princess Royal.

After the carriage procession and the traditional welcome at Buckingham Palace, the Dutch monarch presented her host with a special gift, a horse. The state banquet took place later the same day at Buckingham Palace.

The visit also saw Queen Beatrix host a banquet for the Queen at Hampton Court Palace. The Queen of the Netherlands also attended a gala held at the Guildhall in London in her honour. In between all that sparkle, there was a chance to pop into Number Ten for a visit to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The exact itinerary of this autumn’s event isn’t known. It will be the first state visit to the UK by Willem-Alexander and Maxima, but the couple did pay an ‘’introductory visit’’ to The Queen at Windsor Castle soon after the king’s accession in 2013. They were also invited to take part in commemorations at the Cenotaph in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

The latest visit, this autumn, will be a new chapter in royal relations between these very friendly families.

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