Belgian State Visit to the Netherlands, Day One
The King and Queen of the Netherlands welcome the King and Queen of the Belgians to Amsterdam at the start of their State Visit on November 28th 2016
(photo MonarchieBe Twitter)
They are good friends and close acquaintances so it was no surprise to see smiles dominating as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands welcomed King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians to their country, The three day State Visit got under way with plenty of pomp and ceremony and lots of laughs.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde arrived in Amsterdam on a cold and windy morning. There was an official welcome ceremony to get through but first it was hugs and kisses for old friends and the small matter of keeping some very large hats in place when the breeze picked up.
The royal couples stood side by side as their countries' national anthems were played and then King Willem-Alexander and King Philippe inspected the Guard of Honour.
The King and Queen of the Belgians then laid a wreath at the monument in Dam Square, a solemn moment as the State Visit got under way.
After all that territorial to-ing and fro-ing there was time for an official lunch before Willem-Alexander, Maxima, Philippe and Mathilde headed to the Brakke Grond to see a cultural programme involving the three communities of Belgium.
The two kings then visited the Belgian-Dutch Innovative Entrepreneurs and Finance Conference while the two queens spent time at a symposium on co-operation in urbanization. Don't worry, you're about to get serious tiaras.
The day ended with a State Banquet and this really was a State Banquet. The King and Queen of the Netherlands and the King and Queen of the Belgians were joined by Princess Beatrix, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven for the event meaning we got a royal bonanza of a group photo with enough sparkle to last until Christmas.
King Willem-Alexander, in his speech, referred to the agreement signed earlier in the day and told his guests that the Netherlands and Belgium always worked closely together to solve problems and were at the very heart of Europe.
He also referred to the close ties between the two nations, speaking of the people from both countries who communte over borders every day to work and raised a toast to the 'warm and unbreakable frienship' between the two kingdoms.