Queen Beatrix’s 50th state visit of her reign began on Sunday in Abu Dhabi with a visit to the biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.
The queen and princess Maxima both wore long gowns and covered their heads for the visit to the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque, the queen tucking a blue headscarf around her hat.
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV, used the microblogging service Twitter to describe the queen’s appearance as ‘sad’ and asked why the government had not stopped this happening.
A spokesman for the state information service said the queen and Maxima covered their heads while in the mosque to show respect for the UAE’s traditions. The queen always adapts to traditions in the countries she visits, the spokesman is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.