Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A modern touch for a royal tradition

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain paid their first introductory visit to another European royal court today when they dropped in on their Dutch counterparts, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, in The Hague. While the newest monarch in Europe and his consort have paid introductory trips to Portugal, Morocco, France and the Vatican this is the first time they have made a visit to another royal household.  And they started off with two very friendly faces as Willem-Alexander and his wife greeted them with hugs and kisses in The Hague.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands greet King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain in the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on October 15th 2014

The two royal couples have always seemed to get on well when they have been seen together at weddings and major events over the last ten years.  And that friendly feeling was evident from the moment that Felipe and Letizia arrived in The Hague with both the King and Queen of the Netherlands throwing open their arms to welcome their guests.  And it was broad smiles all round as the four royals posed for photos outside the Noordeinde Palace and then inside where they stopped for some more pictures before a private lunch.

Kings in arms - Felipe of Spain and Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

The introductory visit to the Netherlands followed a similar pattern to those undertaken already by the Spanish royals and by the new Dutch and Belgian monarchs last year.  After lunch, Felipe and Letizia headed to the Dutch Senate to meet leading political figures before an audience with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

The King and Queen of Spain with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte

The short visit is designed to allow new monarchs to make a formal introduction at the start of their reign on the home soil of fellow heads of state.  Felipe and Letizia will be in Belgium next month as their round of visits continues.

Felipe and Letizia leave the Dutch Senate

And no doubt that visit will include more hugs and smiles as a new generation of royals who have known each other for years take over the tenure of their respective monarchies.  It's a modern touch to a formal occasion and shows how royalty is changing as the 21st century unfolds.

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