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Dutch king and queen begin state visit to Britain

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Dutch king and queen begin state visit to Britain

Dutch king and queen begin state visit to Britain
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PETER NICHOLLS(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth hosts the King and Queen of the Netherlands at a banquet on Tuesday for the first UK state visit by Dutch monarchy for 36 years, during which they will visit the grave of the only Dutch king of England.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were formally welcomed by the British queen with a Guard of Honour before taking a state carriage procession along the Mall in London to lunch at Buckingham Palace.

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In the afternoon, the Dutch royals will visit the grave of William III and Mary II of England, the Anglo-Dutch couple who ruled Britain at the end of the 17th Century, and will also lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.

Willem-Alexander will then deliver an address to parliament before afternoon tea with Elizabeth's heir Charles at his official Clarence House residence.

An evening banquet at Buckingham Palace will begin with speeches by Elizabeth and Willem-Alexander.

The last state visit from the Netherlands was by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in November 1982, while Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip paid a state visit to Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in March 1958.

The visit ends on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)

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