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Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg amongst guests at Imperial Palace in Tokyo ahead of Olympics

© Grand Ducal Court / Sophie Margue

Friday marked the beginning of the agonised Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Games had to be postponed due to restrictions for health safety and are finally taking place now, albeit with limitations. 

Several royals had to bow out of travelling to Tokyo for the occasion because of either travel restrictions from their own countries or because Japan is severely limiting access to the capital in fear of an increase of cases. 

However, some authorities and prominent members of the International Olympic Committee were able to make the trip and have been welcomed to Tokyo over the past few days. 

It was the case for Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, who travelled to the Japanese capital for the Olympics. 

Before the start of the opening ceremony, His Royal Highness was amongst the guests who were granted an audience with Emperor Naruhito at Tokyo Imperial Palace. 

The reception followed all health safety protocols, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, and was held in the Grand Hall of the Palace. 

Hosting the reception were the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga; the Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike and the President of the Tokyo 2020 Committee, Seiko Hashimoto; and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach. 

During the reception, which was held for all heads of state and government who travelled to Japan, His Imperial Majesty delivered a speech welcoming them to his country. He then met them individually in the Audience Room. 

The Olympic Games are one of the first major international events to happen after the world had to suddenly shut down 16 months ago and is looked at as a precedent for how to hold such events in the future. 

The Games will be held in giant venues with no public allowed inside; according to various athletes who shared on social media, they are tested every single day, and, whenever they are positive or have been in contact with someone who was, they will be alerted and will immediately have to leave the Olympic Village to self-isolate.