King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands spent the first day of their three-day state visit to Canada in the capital Ottawa. They visited Parliament Hill, laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and spoke with Canadian war veterans.
By Frank Kuin in Ottawa
On the first official day of their three-day state visit to Canada, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima flew from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the Canadian capital, Ottawa. By horse-drawn carriage they arrived at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston.
Following the inspection of the honour guard by the King, Johnston addressed the royal couple with a word of welcome. “One in every 30 or so Canadians is of Dutch origin, which explains a lot about the quality of this country,” he said.
King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands speaks at Rideau Hall at start of #NLstatevisitCAN as GG, Queen Maxima listen pic.twitter.com/JnIhJY5LxF
— Frank Kuin (@frankkuin) May 27, 2015
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima greeted the audience of a few hundred Dutch-Canadians who had assembled at Rideau Hall.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima greet members of the Dutch-Canadian community at Rideau Hall #NLstatevisitCAN pic.twitter.com/AJdOZ8ezXB — Frank Kuin (@frankkuin) May 27, 2015
Inside, the royal couple met with the Governor-General, who is the representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada, and his wife, Sharon Johnston.
From Rideau Hall, the King and Queen travelled to Parliament Hill. They signed the guest books of the Senate and the House of Commons and were given a tour of the historic Centre Block, with short visits to the Library of Parliament and the Senate chamber.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima visit library of Parliament in Ottawa during #NLstatevisitCAN #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/Jk6ky1OgAo
— Frank Kuin (@frankkuin) May 27, 2015
After lunch with the chairmen of the Senate and the House, the royal couple laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, not far from the Parliament buildings. Last fall, the war monument was the scene of a deadly attack by an armed assailant who subsequently stormed into the Parliament building.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander speaks with Canadian war veterans in Ottawa during state visit #NLstatevisitCAN #LibNL70 pic.twitter.com/JOBOs4QmOZ — Frank Kuin (@frankkuin) May 27, 2015
Back on Parliament Hill, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen. Canada’s ties with the Netherlands “are one of our closest relationships in the world,” said Harper.
“Canadians never cease to be amazed by the ongoing gratitude from the Dutch population for their Canadian liberators,” said the Prime Minister, who travelled to the Netherlands earlier this month to attend the ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation.
After their visit to the Prime Minister’s Office, the royal couple met with the ‘Dutch caucus’ in Parliament, a group of Canadian MPs of Dutch background or with a connection to the Netherlands.
In the evening, King Willem-Alexander thanked the Governor General and his wife for their hospitality. “There are few countries in the world where the link with Holland is so tangible as it is here,” he said. “It is a connection that flows from the heart and a shared, living history.”
This post is also available in: Dutch
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