Prince of Orange & Princess Máxima’s First Two Days in NYC
TRH The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have landed in the United States of America for an official visit to mark the 400th anniversary of the Hudson Voyage (and to attend the wedding of Bernardo Guillermo over the weekend), and the first stop was the USS Intrepid, where the Prince and Princess were greeted by Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Here, speeches were made by the Prince, the Mayor and Mrs Clinton. Prince Willem-Alexander said that, “Arriving in New York is always a great pleasure…because the better you know the Big Apple, the more you love this wonderful city,” before going on to talk about the 1609 voyage of the Half Moon from the Netherlands to New Amsterdam. He also spoke of the values brought to the New World, which are still present in New Yorkers today. “There is no doubt in my mind that New York will emerge from this crisis stronger…New Yorkers are hard-working optimists who have always been able to find new opportunities,” Prince Willem-Alexander said, regarding the current global financial crisis. Following the speeches, Princess Máxima was presented with a glass bowl by Mrs Clinton, and a 21-gun salute took place.
From the Harbour, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima flew via helicopter to the oldest military academy in the US, West Point.
A brief photo opportunity took place on the steps outside the Academy before lunch, where the royal couple got a chance to speak with some cadets, including Cadet Eric Bernau who spoke to the Princess about the multinational forces present in Afghanistan. It was also at West Point that the Prince addressed approximately 4,000 cadets in Washington Hall. In his speech, Willem-Alexander once again spoke of the history between the two nations, their allied nature and both their recent military contributions. “We believe in democracy, and we believe in human rights and human dignity for all. It puts us in a great position to meet the challenges of this new century in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” he said. Another photo opportunity took place before the couple’s departure, at Trophy Point.
A second helicopter flight, and the Prince and Princess were in Albany, founded in 1624 as Fort Orange. Here they were greeted by the Governor of New York, David Patterson, at the Governor’s Mansion. The royal couple were presented with a souvenir copy of a photograph of Queen Beatrix during her 1959 visit to Albany. During their visit to Albany, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima visited the Cultural Education Centre, and were presented with a key to the city at the Albany City Hall by Mayor Gerald Jennings.
Back in Manhattan later that afternoon, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima visited the New York State Library, where they learned about the library’s new project of translated original works dating back to the time of Dutch settlement, the New Netherlands Project. Before leaving, the couple, along with the Dutch State Secretary Frans Timmermans, presented the NYSL with €200,000 to go towards the project from the Dutch government.
Willem-Alexander and Máxima’s final event of Tuesday was to illuminate the famous Empire State Building in typical Dutch fashion – orange. The Empire State Building can be seen from most places in NYC, and is currently the city’s tallest building. The Prince and Princess pulled the leaver in the building’s lobby, before the Prince said that the orange light should be seen as a “sign of the relationship between New York and the Netherlands.”
The schedule for Wednesday September 9th began in the mid-morning, with a visit to the replica ship of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon. The ship is manned by 12-13 year old Dutch and American students, who explained to their royal visitors the annual ‘Voyage of Discovery’. From here, it was a short walk to Battery Park for the unveiling of the New Amsterdam Pavillion.
Hidden beneath a large orange cloth, the Pavilion is a gift from the Dutch government to New York to celebrate the anniversary. It was designed by Ben van Berkel and the Dutch government provided €1.6million for the project, which is due to be completed next year. The Prince of Orange spoke following the unveiling, stating “[The Pavilion] symbolises both our shared legacies and our joint commitment to the future.”
From here, Princess Máxima took centre stage at the baptism of the Henry Hudson Tulip at the dock of Battery Park. The tulip, which will blossom into a vibrant orange, was bred by the Institute of Horticultural Plant Breeding in Wageningen, and will be officially listed in the International Register of Tulips of the Dutch Royal General Bulb Growers Association. Princess Máxima also presented Mayor Bloomberg with 100,000 Henry Hudson Tulip bulbs to be planted throughout the five boroughs in the coming fall.
The baptism was followed by a lunch in Battery Park, where the Princess briefly spoke of her fond memories of Battery Park, and of New York. “Battery Park is where I went out rollerblading with a nice Dutchman, who would later ask me to marry him,” she said, before noting that “with the benefit of hindsight, my five years in New York may well have been a necessary step to get to where I am now, and I am hugely grateful for it.”
Day two of the official visit was concluded by a dinner at Bridgewaters Restaurant, to celebrate the International Water Forum H209. HRH the Prince of Orange gave a speech to those in attendance.
Click here to view the thread regarding the anniversary visit.Filed under The Netherlands
Tagged Anniversary, Bilateral Relations, Flower Baptism, Hillary Rodham Clinton, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, Literature, Military, Official Visit, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United States of America.