Photos: Dutch Royals visit British Queen, parliament

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima
King Willem-Alexander and Queen MaximaPhoto: RVD - Erwin Olaf

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima started their two-day state visit to the United Kingdom on Monday. On their first day the Dutch Royals had lunch with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham palace and visited the British parliament, NOS reports.

Shortly before being received at the palace, the Royal couple met with Dutch living in the UK and discussed the expats' concerns about the consequences of the Brexit - the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in March next year.

Early in the afternoon, the King and Queen were received by Queen Elizabeth with kisses at the Horse Guards Parade, before the King inspected the guard of honor with Prince Charles. The company then departed by coach to Buckingham palace for lunch. On the way the Royal couple were cheered by a few hundred people who had gathered at the Mall, which was decorated with Dutch flags. After lunch gifts were exchanged and King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Queen Elizabeth viewed paintings of Dutch masters at the Picture Gallery in the palace.

In Westminster Abbey, the royal couple placed a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier and visited the tombs of Willem III, a prince of Oranje who became king of England and Scotland, and his wife Mary Stuart. 

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima then visited British parliament, where the King gave a speech. The King assured the British parliamentarians that the Netherlands will never forget the British army's courage and self-sacrifice in the Second World War. He also mentioned Willem III (1650-1702) who "had the dubious honor to lead the last successful invasion" in England and laid the foundations for "the strong constitutional monarchy that the United Kingdom is rightly proud of". About the Brexit, Willem-Alexander said that the Netherlands is "truly sad to see a good partner leave", but that we fully respect this choice. "Brexit does not mean farewell. Our close, historical relationship will continue, albeit in a different way."

The King and Queen had tea with Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, and ended the first day of their state visit with a state banquet in Buckingham palace.