Thursday 09 February 2023

Solemn Dutch royals attend funeral for Britain’s queen Elizabeth

Princess Beatrix (L), king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima leave after the service. Photo: Ben Stansall / POOL / AFP

Dutch king Willem-Alexander, queen Maxima and princess Beatrix had front row seats at the funeral ceremony held for British queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday.

The Dutch royals were among a host of kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers to attend the event, ten days after Elizabeth died at the age of 96.

Royalty expert Pieter Klein Beernink told the Telegraaf that the Dutch family had been given such a prominent position in front of the flag-draped coffin because of the close ties between the two families.

Princess Beatrix, the former Dutch queen who abdicated in favour of her son in 2013 at the age of 75, would often cross the channel incognito to have lunch or dinner with Elizabeth, Klein Beernink said.

A black mourning pennant was hoisted above the Noordeinde palace in The Hague as a mark of respect for the British queen, who visited the Netherlands several times during her 70-year reign.

The Dutch royals will also attend a much smaller ceremony at Windsor Castle later on Monday, broadcaster NOS said.

Embassy

The British embassy in The Hague and the consulate were both closed on Monday, which was a bank holiday in Britain, but dozens of well-wishers have left flowers outside the building.

Photo: Dutch News

Over 2,000 people, including prime minister Mark Rutte, signed the condolence book at the embassy and there are also books available for signing at Anglican churches dotted throughout the country.

The book at the Anglican church on the Kinderhuissingel in Haarlem, for example, will be open for a few more weeks.

Monday’s ceremony has dominated the Dutch as well as the British media, with live blogs on most news websites and coverage from the funeral procession and ceremony on television.

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