Dutch King & Queen set for UK state visit as Brexit looms

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima
King Willem-Alexander and Queen MaximaPhoto: RVD / Patrick van Katwijk

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will pay a state visit to the United Kingdom, at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, in the autumn. The visit will take place on October 23rd and 24th. Minster Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs will accompany the Royal couple, government information service Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst announced.

This will be King Willem-Alexander's first state visit to the United Kingdom, though the Dutch King and Queen have met Queen Elizabeth several times before. The Royal couple visited Windsor Castle for an introductory visit in 2013, and they were in London for Remembrance Sunday in 2015.

The state visit to the UK is King Willem-Alexander's fifth state visit this year, and the second for Queen Maxima. The King and Queen visited Luxembourg in May. In June King Willem-Alexander visited Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, all in one week. Queen Maxima was unable to attend these last three state visits, because her sister Ines passed away the week before

According to Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, this state visit reconfirms "the excellent ties between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom as 'North Sea Neighbors', based on shared values in the past, present and future". 

This announcement was made on the same day that British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Prime Minister Mark Rutte at his office in The Hague to discuss Britain's departure from the European Union next year. "The UK continues to be a valued friend", Rutte said on Twitter after meeting with May. "Therefore, I'm delighted that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will be paying a state visit to the UK in October."