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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Dutch royals pledge lasting Irish friendship

  

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima from the Netherlands plant a tree at Áras an Uachtaráin, watched by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. PHOTO: PAUL FAITH/AF
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima from the Netherlands plant a tree at Áras an Uachtaráin, watched by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. PHOTO: PAUL FAITH/AF
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed the Dutch king and queen, Willem-Alexander and Máxima, to the Áras as both nations pledged a lasting friendship in turbulent times.

They greeted the couple as a guard of honour was presented, and the national anthems of the Netherlands and Ireland played out.

Rather than June blue skies, the king and queen were met with a grey, drizzly day. But that did not stop fashion-conscious Máxima from impressing with an elegant shimmering olive fitted dress, teamed with a string of gold bracelets and a tasteful matching hat.

The dress, by Dutch designer Claes Iversen, provided one of the stand-out moments of the morning as onlookers admired the queen's style. The outfit was something of a nod to Ireland, but the gold bangles were said to have been inspired by African tribeswomen.

As part of their State visit, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited Dogpatch Labs, a tech start-up hub in the CHQ Building in Dublin. The royals took part in a lively CoderDojo session in a huge warehouse room packed full of children.

The queen sat with Cliona McCrossan (12), from south Dublin, and asked did she want to be a coder when she grew up. But Cliona responded: "Actually I want to be a wedding planner."

Cliona told the Irish Independent this wasn't the first royal meeting. She had met two very famous British royals in January.

"I met Meghan and Harry here (at CoderDojo) a few months ago. The queen was really nice, she asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. She thought the idea I had to be a wedding planner was good and it was really fun meeting her."

Irish Independent

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