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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima begin state visit to Portugal

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands embarked on a state visit to Portugal late Monday night, arriving at Lisbon airport where they were greeted by Portuguese government representatives as well as the Dutch ambassador and his wife.

The royal couple are in Portugal for three days for a busy schedule of engagements and events which began yesterday morning at 11:30am, when start of the state visit was officially marked at a reception thrown by President Rebelo de Sousa. The red-carpet reception was held at the monastery of Jeronimos in Belem.

While at the monastery King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence at the tomb of Luís de Camões, Portugal’s most famous poet. Camões’ death day (10 June 1580) is a national holiday in the country and celebrated around the world as a special Portuguese day.

Following their visit to the monastery the royal couple made a stop at the Portuguese Parliament and Lisbon’s City Hall before boarding a tram to tour the suburbs of Mouraria and Intendente. Both areas have seen a boom in initiatives to liven the neighbourhoods and the King and Queen clearly relished the opportunity to see the work first hand and speak to those involved.

The first day of the state visit ended with a traditional state banquet at the former royal palace of Palácio da Ajuda, which is now used as a museum. Both King Willem-Alexander and President de Sousa gave speeches.

The second day of the state visit started at a cancer centre where the royals spoke with patients and staff, learning about the facility and the people it works so hard to treat. After a lunch with business economic leaders to discuss the renewable energy sector, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima opened a new exhibition which includes pieces borrowed from the royal collection which are normally displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The day ended with a concert starring Nynke Laverman and Cristina Branco, which was a gift from the Netherlands to Portugal as the host country.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the state visit and will include a visit to the school where Portuguese fire commanders receive their training, a press conference and a meeting with the Dutch community in Portugal before a flight back to the Netherlands.

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