Dutch Monarch Begins State Visit to Japan

  October 29, 2014 at 10:25 pm by

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The Dutch King and Queen today began their state visit to Japan, which will last until Friday.

On hand for the welcoming ceremony at Imperial Palace were Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. Both Queen Máxima and Crown Princess Masako wore shades of orange – the Queen in a burnt-orange silk dress paired with her signature turban-style headwear, the Crown Princess in a traditional peach skirt suit. King Willem-Alexander and Emperor Akihito inspected a guard of honour, before the visiting royal couple had an audience with their hosts inside the Palace.

In the afternoon, the King and Queen visited 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, an institution founded by design Issey Miyake which aims to promote interest in design. This was followed by a visit to two temples, one Shinto and one Buddhist, to highlight the roles of both philosophies in Japanese life. They also met with members of the Dutch community who live in Japan at a reception held at the Dutch Ambassador’s residence.

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Emperor Akihito hosted a banquet at the Imperial Palace for his visitors, which was attended by his sons and daughters-in-law. Much was made in the media prior to the visit about the Crown Princess’s attendance in events surrounding the visit, particularly the state dinner, as she has not attended such an event in many years.

In his speech at the banquet, King Willem-Alexander recited a haiku written by Bashō in 1679, which speaks of the time when Dutch traders were the only Western group allowed into Japan. The King also spoke of the affects of the Second World War on Japan, and its relations with the Netherlands, and how he hopes that their present positive relations will continue in the future.

Queen Máxima recycled a gold beaded evening gown from Jan Taminiau, which she previously wore to last year’s Prinsjesdag. She also wore the Württemberg Pearl and Diamond Tiara, a wedding gift for Sophie of Württemberg when she married the future King Willem III in 1839, for the first time. The Japanese royals all wore evening gowns in shades of white or cream, paired with their personal diamond diadems.

View the full image at Reformatorisch Dagblad

King Willem-Alexander bestowed the Order of the House of Orange-Nassau in the category of Grand Cross upon Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko in honour of the visit. In return, the Japanese Emperor awarded the King the Order of the Chrysanthemum and Queen Máxima the Order of the Precious Crown.

Read more about the state visit here.

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